Although Innsbruck is surrounded by mountains, it lies in the valley created by the river Inn, meaning the city itself is very flat. This is great for cycling and running. The bridges create riverside circuits, which I have been running in combination for years without knowing any of the distances.
So, being curious as to the distances involved, I recently downloaded the Runkeeper app and ran the six circuits created by the seven bridges over the Inn closest to the centre of the city. And then, training runs done, put them altogether for the big one!
RUNNING ROUTES IN INNSBRUCK NEXT TO THE RIVER
You can put these running routes together in combination if you wish, to build routes of different lengths. Okay, from east to west… Auf geht’s!
My start and finish point was the south side of the Weiherburgsteg wooden pedestrian bridge, looking onto the Huttererpark playground (see my previous blog!). After running along the south side of the river, I took a right around the old Hungerburgbahn station (Talstation) then left over the Mühlauer Brücke road bridge. Then left again, running the pavement next to the busy Hoher Weg road. Truth be told, this particular section is not the most pleasant, thanks to the traffic. But the run ends on a fun note, with the steps down to the Weiherburgsteg and sprint finish across it!
Distance: 0.72 miles/1.15 kilometers
I’d been running this circuit for years without knowing that it’s exactly one mile long. Thanks runkeeper! As you can see though, I was quite a way off the mythical four minute mark!
This one uses the two pedestrian bridges to the east of the central Innbrücke bridge. The Hungerburgbahn bridge by the Löwenhaus station is pretty much at the halfway point of this one. I started by crossing the Innsteg bridge (where I proposed… she said ‘yes!’). Then after turning right, there’s a section of narrow pavement. Then a gravel path several meters away from the road before a slight gradient brings you up to another short section of roadside pavement. Then the steps and sprint over the Weiherburgsteg to finish once again! I’m thinking ‘seven minute mile’ has a nice ring to it. Maybe I’ll attempt that in future…
Distance: 1 mile/1.6 kilometers
So, same starting point as run 2 (obviously, with these being circuits you can start/finish wherever is convenient for you) but this time I went west to the Innbrücke. This is Innsbruck’s oldest and most central bridge. It’s the bridge that gives the city its name, and from the 12th century until the construction of the Mühlauer Brücke in 1581, it was the only bridge in the Innsbruck area. The views are pretty special wherever you are in Innsbruck, but I’ve always loved the way the vista really opens up between the Innsteg and the Innsbrücke, especially when you look up to Hungerburg and the mighty Nordkette mountain chain.
Distance: 0.87 miles/1.4 kilometers
I started this one at the corner of the Universitatsbrücke (university bridge), which is a busy road bridge. The run along the north side of the Inn is very pleasant though, as most of it is away from the road. After crossing the Innbrücke, turn right onto the Marktplatz (market square) and follow the narrow stretch of pavement back up to the Universitatsbrücke.
Distance: 0.84 miles/1.35 kilometers
This is the longest gap between bridges in the centre of the city. This is a great run, as so little of it is next to the road. The university lies on the south side, with a lot of students using the grassy areas between it and the river as a space for social gatherings, especially on warm summer evenings. It’s known locally as the ‘Sonnendeck’ (sundeck). On the north side, the run takes you along Arthur Haidl Promenade, an area that buzzes with activity; sports, slacklines and so on.
Distance: 1.11 miles/1.78 kilometers
And now for the shortest gap between bridges in central Innsbruck! This one takes you along Franz-Gschnitzer-Promenade from the busy road bridge, roughly 300 meters west to the wooden pedestrian bridge. Turns out this one is exactly half a mile.
Distance: 0.5 miles/0.8 kilometers
RUN 7 (THE RUN OF RUNS!):
So, now to put it all together! I started and finished the ‘run of runs’ outside the Löwenhaus station of the Hungerburgbahn, heading west up to the Mühlauer Brücke, to get the more unpleasant roadside sections out of the way early. Please note that with this run you have to cross the road at the Innbrücke. I was lucky in that the green light was on both times. You can run the paths under the other road bridges. I hadn’t done a long run in quite a while (give me a break… 7.2 kms is long for me!) so I have to admit to struggling a bit with this. As you can see considering my sluggish pace. Still, as the rain helped cool me down on the closing stretch I felt the sense of satisfaction at having done this circuit for the very first time.
It turns out not crossing five of the bridges knocks around half a mile off the distance.