Top four run and café combos

Exercising on the weekend is great. Take it slow, unwind from a busy week and find your rhythm.

What’s even better is knowing there’s something tasty waiting for you at the other end. These top notch Melbourne runs finish at a café pot of gold. Enjoy!
WEST
Run – Footscray/Seddon
Eat – Common Galaxia – 130 Victoria Street, Seddon
The transformation of the Maribyrnong River and the evolving industrial hub of Melbourne can be best viewed by a run along the river. Starting out at the intersection of Charles St and Victoria St, Seddon, run down Charles St and take the pedestrian path to the Maribyrnong river trail. Head left and the world’s your oyster, here you can run as long and as far as you like. The path follows the old rail tracks and hugs the riverbank, winding past new housing developments, whirring factories and under huge bridges rumbling from overhead lorries. Passing the Heavenly Queen Buddhist temple and its enormous 16-metre statue, the smell of incense drifts across the path. Watch for cyclists hurtling past and either cross the river at one of the bridges or simply double back on the same side. Running back up Charles St, take a left at Victoria St and Common Galaxia café is on your right. Cool Scandinavian design, gorgeous light fittings and healthy offerings including a raw veggie salad, quinoa fritters with poached eggs and yummy natural mueslis are a delectable way to book end your run.
SOUTH
Run – Elwood/Balaclava:
Eat – Monk Bodhi Dharma – Rear 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
Run down leafy Dickens St, Elwood towards the beach. Here, you have two options – turn left towards Sandringham or right towards Port Melbourne. Either way, a paved, shared run/bike path follows the coast making for a scenic, lose-yourself kind of run. Turning back, if you want a little extra workout, finish with a loop of the pretty St Kilda Botanical Gardens off Dickens St before turning left at Brighton Rd (Nepean Hwy). Turning right onto Carlisle St and over Chapel Street, you’ll spot the lovely Monk Bodhi Dharma tucked away behind KLP International Deli. Super healthy, this vegetarian café serves up delicious natural granola with almond milk and strawberries, delicious apple pancakes and an assortment of teas and single-estate coffees to wash it down. Light, fresh and super tasty, this teensy café’s menu offers a clean, wholesome way to top off a morning of exercise.
INNER CITY
Run – Fitzroy/East Melbourne
Eat – Grub Food Van – 87 – 89 Moor Street, Fitzroy
If the weather’s fine, take a sprint down Brunswick St, city bound, crossing eclectic Gertrude St, busy Victoria Parade and left onto Albert St, East Melbourne. Skirt the Fitzroy Gardens along Albert St, then right along Clarendon St before crossing Wellington Parade for a lap of Yarra Park. Looping back past the MCG, cross over Wellington Parade and jog along the Wellington side of the Fitzroy Gardens, into the Treasury Gardens and right onto Spring St. Run past Parliament House, onto Nicholson St and arrive at Carlton Gardens. Jog through, spotting the grand Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum before turning right at Moor St. Just a short run down you arrive at a 1965 airstream – Grub Food Van. Seasonal, social and super random, this is a delicious local brekkie spot you can happily unwind at.
EAST
Run – Anniversary Trail, inner eastern suburbs, Melbourne
Eat – The Resident, 246 High Street, Ashburton
The Anniversary Trail is a 14km shared run/bike path running between Fairfield and East Malvern. With intersecting roads offering plenty of hop on points, jump on the shady trail where best suits and follow the steam-era Outer Circle train line into local parks, under rail bridges and through some lovely eastern suburbs of Melbourne. A hugely popular trail, you’ll find yourself sharing the path with plenty of cyclists, kids on scooters and walkers. Wherever you start, make sure High Street, Ashburton is crossed as a visit to The Resident café is a must. With plenty of seating, including a huge outdoor area, this cosy café has a great neighbourhood feel and is frequented by loads of people using the trail. Mashed avocado on seeded toast, porridge with rhubarb, seasonal fruit and muesli and some a delicious beetroot and slivered almond salad are just some of the tasty fare available.
Fluid fact
After completing your run, don’t make a beeline for the caffeine. Grab the water jug and replenish your fluids from exercising.

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