Before that fateful day in March, back when you took physical contact and access to toilet paper for granted, you would be hard-pressed to find more than one or two people going for a run. Then, a strange phenomenon took hold; many took to the streets, hoping to reinvent themselves now that they had countless hours of free time. As quarantine dragged on, there were no longer throngs of people flocking outside to stave off Jack-from-The-Shining levels of cabin fever. Some moved on to the next COVID-19 craze, like binge-watching Tiger King or baking sourdough bread, while others continued to run. If you’re still one of those people looking for nearby trails, a long-term runner getting tired of passing the same buildings every day, or someone looking to start running but you have no idea where to go, look no further. I asked around to find out the hottest running spots around the University. Shoutout to the cross-country team for sending me a very comprehensive spreadsheet! I’ve tried these all out to ensure you can get the best running experience.
My first loop around campus was a nice way to start the day. Because of the construction taking place near Pine Street, it felt a bit like I was doing an obstacle course when I started my journey from Butts A. Along the way, I passed several bikers, which made me long for the bike that somehow managed to fall off the back of the car when I was en route to campus (I’m still not 100% sure how that happened without anyone noticing). I spent quite a decent amount of time mourning my bike as I continued on to Long Lane. Something I never noticed before was how close the fire department is to campus. It makes sense, considering college students have no idea how to make macaroni and cheese in a cup without nearly burning down the building.
Further along my run, I passed by a socially distanced dance class. Everyone was clad in masks, wiggling about freely. It seemed quite fun, and I briefly considered joining them before remembering my mission. I took a left on Wadsworth, and the sidewalk disappeared for some reason. At least there was a lot of grass separating me from the road and the buildings. I admired many pretty flowers before taking a left on Pine Street and returning to the lovely place I call home. A solid two miles.
Rate: 8/10. fairly entertaining, straightforward, mostly flat, and therefore very kind to a weary college student looking for fresh air.
My second loop of the day started at Freeman Athletic Center. It was a similar path to the first one, but I stayed on Long Lane until Long Hill Road instead of turning onto Wadsworth. It’s the time of year where we have this weird in between weather; it’s freezing in the mornings and too hot after lunch. I made the mistake of wearing jeans today.
I’ve lived in New England for my whole life; I should know how to dress for the weather, but I will simply never learn. The sidewalk disappeared again. I really wish it wouldn’t do that. My Summies lunch began to torture me by giving me terrible stomach cramps, so I cut the route a little short and turned back onto Pine Street, still managing about three miles.
Rate: 7/10. Quite similar to the first route except I was in more pain with less interest in the surroundings.
My third loop of the day took place at 8:30 p.m., which was a questionable decision at best because walking at night is simultaneously very fun and very terrifying. My roommate offered to go with me before realizing that he had to read about 50 pages before tomorrow morning. I will never understand the College of Social Studies (CSS) grind, but I respect it, so I went out alone. I was wearing my pajamas and crocs with socks because why not? Starting from Freeman again, this time I stayed on Cross Street instead of turning onto Long Lane. There was no sidewalk. Again. I think I was being tormented on purpose. On the bright side, there were no cars. I turned onto Butternut Street and promptly lost my mind at the sight of the pond. There’s something so comforting and tranquil about the reflection of moonlight on water. And there was even an illuminated fountain, which was a super cool and unexpected surprise. This calmed me down for approximately five minutes, and then I started freaking out about how dark it was. There was a distinct lack of street lights, so I could hardly see where I was walking. The lack of sidewalk could have been the end of me.
I turned onto West Street for a moment before continuing on Butternut Street. I thought I saw roadkill, but it was actually just someone’s shirt lying in the middle of the road. Thanks for the needless jump scare. I turned onto Aston Lane where there were somehow even fewer street lights. I turned back onto Wadsworth and realized that I was passing by a farm. I saw the silhouettes of horses, which convinced me to walk even faster. I’m irrationally terrified by them. Why am I more afraid of horses than strangers? I don’t know. I think it’s their teeth. I turned onto Pine Street with my body fully on autopilot. Fear is such a fantastic motivator.
Rate: 4/10. If it had been daylight, definitely a 9/10.
All in all, definitely check out some of these routes if you want to go for a chill run, but maybe think twice before going on a walk at night (not to mention there should always be more sidewalks). Please, to all my city planners, I beg of you! I need them. Love, someone who doesn’t want to be hit by a car.
Caroline Bonnevie can be reached at email@example.com.