5 great running routes around Cal

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The summer season is upon us, and that means there’s more time to take care of yourself — and a lot of us can’t use the excuse that we have to study when we’re trying to avoid exercise. The benefits of going out for a run once in a while are obvious and immediate: shaping up, improving your mood, getting tan and connecting with the outside world. Here are some spots we think are worth checking out before the school year starts up again.

1. The Berkeley Fire Trails. Up Centennial Drive is an extensive network of dirt trails connecting Berkeley to the wilderness in the hills.
The Good: There are plenty of panoramic views of Berkeley. Tough slopes are balanced by long, even trails. You might encounter woodland creatures.
The Bad: Seasonal allergies might be set off by the pollen. The roadside trail there can get too narrow and slippery. There are some downhill parts you’re probably be better walking down. You might encounter a mountain lion.
Bottom Line: It’s perfect for a one- to two-hour run.

2. Campus itself. Getting from Southside to Northside is basically a workout. So why not throw on your running shoes and step it up a bit?
The Good: Predictable paths make it easy to design the kind of run you want. It’s safer than other outdoor runs at night.
The Bad: School might be the very thing you are running from.
Bottom Line: It’s perfect for night running or a light jog with your friends.

3. The RSF. These training facilities are highly equipped and well-lit.
The Good: You can do workouts besides running. It has an energetic atmosphere. Water fountains are nearby. It’s open late.
The Bad: It can get noisy. You run in place.
Bottom Line: A perfect place to run between classes.

4. To the Berkeley Marina and back. Take Virginia Street up and down for an incredible, scenic nine-mile run.
The Good: It’s a straight shot. You can explore the residential and maritime elements of Berkeley. Virginia is a quiet street.
The Bad: The gradual uphill on the way back is killer.
Bottom Line: It’s a perfect run if you’re free all morning or afternoon.

5. The track at Clark Kerr.
The Good: The track is well maintained and easy on joints. It’s like what you had in high school — multiplied by a coolness factor of 10.
The Bad: It’s at Clark Kerr.
Bottom Line: It’s your standard track, perfect for specific running exercises.

Know a spot perfect for running? Got any tips for fellow runners? Let us know in the comments.

Image source: Flickred! under Creative Commons

Contact Josh Escobar at [email protected]