Dad Picks: Best Running Routes of the Seacoast


In all honesty, I’m no runner. Lucky for you, I know a handful of incredible dads who are. Even luckier for you, they’re spilling the beans on the best running routes of the Seacoast. 

Meet Ryan Proulx from Portsmouth

Father of 5 year-old twins Mia and Finn, Ryan enjoys hitting the trails in the fall and winter, especially with snowshoes after a fresh flurry. Ryan has been a runner for years and during his time with Coastal Athletic Association, met several friends through their Saturday morning group runs and Tuesday evening track runs. He recommends that new runners try the same. “Join a running club,” Ryan suggests. “You will meet others who run at the same level as you, which will make training more fun and motivating.”

Another bit of advice from Ryan? Buy a jogging stroller and run with your kids. “My kids loved telling me I was going too slow during races, where I pushed them in the jogger” Ryan shares. “My Mom used to run 5Ks with me when I was a kid, and it was a great way to get introduced to the sport at a young age, while also spending time with my Mom. In the past 5 years, my Mom and I have run both the New York City and Boston Marathons together. It’s great to be able to enjoy the sport together 35 years after my first race with her. My kids just completed their first 5k. I hope that they continue to enjoy running, so that it’s something we can do together throughout our lives.”

Mike with his two kids, Lucy and Miles.

Meet Mike Guarascio from Stratham

Mike, a trail runner, is father to Lucy (5) and Miles (3). A member of the Runner’s Alley Race Team, Mike averages about 50-60 miles per week and is always encouraging new runners to consider the shop’s sponsored weekly Group Runs.

Yet, it’s more than just exercise for this dad. “I started waking up super early to run when we had kids,” shares Mike. “I figured I was already tired, and running was something comfortable to me that helped me deal with the stress of being a new parent.” Now that the kids are older, Mike weaves his runs into family time. “One day I ran to New Castle commons where my wife and kids met me.” Advice from Mike? “We live in a really great area for running! Get out and explore the local towns!”

James, with two of his kids, Stephanie and Uriah.

Meet James from Portsmouth

Okay, so I’m a little biased with this dad (since he’s my husband!) but this father-of-four enjoys not just the physical and mental aspects of the sport, but the goal work, friendly competition, and camaraderie of it all, too. As a member of Dirigo Racing Club and SIX03 Endurance Team, Coastal Athletic Association, and the Seacoast Long Run Group, James has discovered that running with others is easier and fun. Averaging about 50-60 miles per week, James tries to discover new routes wherever he goes.  

Meet Vojta from Rochester

Vojta is father to a 2.5 year old who also loves to run. While he favors trails and long runs, Vojta is sure to note that running is a sport best incorporated into family life. “If you don’t have a lot of time, you can do runs from your house or on lunch breaks. I typically do my longer runs on the weekends.” Vojta also recognizes that parents who commit to regular runs cannot do it solo. “My wife is supportive of me running, but when I’m gone for long hours, I make sure to give her a break or appreciate her. My friends and teammates would not be the runners we are if it were not for our wives”.

As a member of Runner’s Alley Race Team, Vojta typically averages about 50 miles a week, but sometimes it closer to 100. With those kinds of distances under his belt, you know Vojta can speak to the best running routes of the Seacoast. His advice for new runners? “Explore New Hampshire and find your favorite spots. Get out there, even in the winter!”

Meet Tim Finelli from Portsmouth

Tim Finelli, father of two, ages 13 and 8, is a member of SIX03, Dirigo Racing Team, and Stoneface. He believes running is best done in good company, and he should know. Tim has been with the same running buddy for almost 10 years. “Running is so enjoyable when one can find one person, or a bunch of people to run with,” shares Tim. “My advice is to go run with SIX03 at PubRuns on Tuesday evenings at Liar’s Bench or Tuesday night at PHS track.” 

Meet Timothy Horan from Dover

Tim is a father of two children, ages seven and five. Averaging about 20 miles a week, Tim frequently sticks to pavement, but loves the country routes throughout Dover. For example, “Drew Road (Dover) is easily accessible from Garrison School and makes a nice 3-4 mile loop for busy dads who want to bag a few miles before or after pick-up/drop-off.”

While Tim would love to run more every week, he keeps a balanced perspective. “I’ve done a better job lately of cherishing the miles I can find time for, and accepting that life is busy and running just has to take a backseat.” 

Meet Matt Sawyer from Eliot 

Matt is father to a 17 year-old and a 14 year-old. Averaging about 80 miles per week, Matt describes himself as primarily a road runner, but enjoys the occasional trail route. As an athlete for both Runner’s Alley Race Team and Dirigo, Matt favors long run and has started a local community, “Seacoast Long Run Group” alongside like-minded locals who challenge him to rethink what is possible, even for the aging runner. 

“There is elegance in the simplicity of running,” shares Matt. “We all do it as children, so even after a 30 year break, it can come back to us naturally. There isn’t much need for hyper-focus on technique or heavy coaching…just run!”

The Seacoast Running Routes:

Mapped Routes

The Newcastle Loop (9.7 miles)

The Stratham Hill Park Loop (4.6 miles)

Great Bay 5k 

Route 1 Coastline (this can be followed for as little as 1 mile, or as long as 13 miles)

The Urban Forestry Center Trails (lengths vary)

Tim’s Dover Route (8.6 miles)

Back-Pocket Routes

River Road Route (Eliot, ME): park at Frost Tufts park, run down Old Road to connect to River and run it to the end as an out and back. It’s almost exactly a 10k and traffic is light.

Chauncey Creek/Fort Foster: Beginning at Fort Foster, take Pocahontas Road to the bridge on Gerrish Island Lane. Cross over and take a left to stay on Chauncey Road. Loop back when you connect with Tenney Hill Road, or continue on for a longer run. Just use caution; the road is tight on parts of this route. 

The Marshwood High School Trail (Eliot, ME): start on a dirt road called Punkintown Road and run it through to York pond, eventually coming out on Brixham Road. It’s not especially well marked, so hydrate well, and explore carefully.

What are your favorite running routes on the Seacoast? Share in the comments!

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Hello, I'm Heather! Born and raised in New Hampshire, I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to raise our four tiny humans, alongside my husband in the beautiful Seacoast community. As a mental health therapist by trade, and full-time mama by life, I find balance in helping my kids to explore the world through deliciously messy play, connecting with other families in the area, having a good belly laugh, and enjoying a strong cup of coffee. My passions include pouring my heart into writing, getting lost in watercolor painting, spending time along the ocean, and discovering new recipes to cook up for my family. When I'm not chasing after my kids or digging in our garden, I work to educate and share about essential oils use for mental health and holistic wellness.