The rhythmic thumping of thousands of running shoes hitting the pavement and sand will soon join the sounds of waves crashing against Tybee's shores. With the Critz Tybee Run Fest convincing runners to break out the running shorts in the midst of winter, we looked into what makes Tybee a runner's destination.

Any given day, you can catch locals and visitors trotting along the paths and waterways around the island. For runners - beginners and veterans alike - looking for a change of scenery, Tybee offers a little something for everyone.

First, and most obviously, the scenery is beautiful. While little compares to Savannah's moss-draped oaks, Tybee's lush flora, ocean views, riverside vistas and charming cottages places it amongst the most relaxing runs in the area. Runners can choose from a variety of paths and have a completely different experience. Moderate temperatures make the quiet winter seasons the perfect time to tighten the laces and head off to enjoy the landscape.

Next, Tybee offers diversity for the full spectrum of running enthusiasts. Just starting out? From end to end, Butler Avenue is just less than 2 miles. Take off at the curve and trot down to the South end for a simple run that will still leave you feeling accomplished. This course leaves you right at the edge of the ocean and near many restaurants ready to serve up a classic Tybee recovery snack. If you're not feeling up for round two, call up Island Hoppers for a swift trip back to your start.

For runners looking for a bit of a challenge, the beach is where you want to be. By far the most difficult run on the island, the beach requires runners to work a little harder to make their way through the sand. According to Critz Tybee Run Fest race director Robert Espinoza, runners signed up for their 2.8 mile beach run should "be prepared to run on the sand - some hard-packed, some soft."

He adds that the winds on the beach contribute another level of difficulty, but is still manageable.

Next weekend's Run Fest shows off Tybee's run-ability with its unique set-up. With runners choosing between five different races, or combining them all for a full marathon, the race highlights all of Tybee's best features. The courses feature Tybee's lighthouse, quaint neighborhoods and of course, the beach. Critz's Corneila Stumpf credits Tybee's casual, friendly atmosphere, delicious restaurants and enthusiastic locals as additional reasons for the island's appeal for runners.

Whether you are planning on joining the runners this weekend for the Critz Tybee Run Fest or just heading out for a casual jog, let Tybee break up your running routine.

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