Last week I told you about a passion shared by many Californians that I embraced, namely photography. Today I want to tell you about another one: sports, more precisely running. I actually do triathlon so I will write about swimming and cycling in future posts.
I am sure you have noticed that Californians do a lot of sports, for many reasons. First, it is part of the culture. Secondly, the weather is always nice so you can do outdoor sports pretty much all year around. Again, the Bay Area is a fantastic playground! That sounds amazing, right? Here are some running ideas near I-House.
For a short run, you can just do a loop around campus. Above is a two-mile loop that will take you by the stadium, Greek Theater, through some nature on campus, and up Bancroft Ave.
If you want to run on a track, there are two tracks on campus: Edwards Track and Golden Bear Track. Edwards Track is a serious eight-lane track while Golden Bear Track feels more casual. The latter is a dirt track behind Clark Kerr Campus at the top of Dwight Way, very close to nature and with beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay. I like it a lot, plus you can go for a short hike in the hills behind campus after running.
If you want to escape the everyday life, the most popular running route is the Fire Trail. It starts behind the Strawberry Canyon pool and it is about seven-mile round-trip. While you run up on the trail you will enjoy some majestic views of the Campanile and the San Francisco Bay. I recommend running in the late afternoon and watching the sunset from the top, it is absolutely gorgeous! Don’t forget to bring flashlights with you, otherwise you might end up going down in the dark.
Tip: you can also just hike that trail, bring some wine and cheese to picnic at the top, and enjoy a glorious sunset.
Last but not least, running on the Bay Trail is another favorite. It is far, you have to go all the way down to the Berkeley Marina, but it is so worth running there, getting some fresh air, and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, San Francisco, and the Bay Bridge!
Now if you tell me that you are not athletic at all and that you cannot run, I will not believe you. Growing up in Paris, in a buzzing city I did very little sports because with all the cars and people, it was just not very appealing. In addition, my family is not really into sports. But in Berkeley I gave it a shot, I did a few runs, went to the pool every now and then, bought a bike to go on rides, until I eventually joined the Cal Triathlon Team with my roommate, which was really fun and motivating! In fact, the past twelve months I have done an Olympic distance triathlon (1,500 m swim, 40 km ride, 10 km run) and four half marathons (the last one being in Cologne, Germany two weeks ago with an I-House friend). Now our objective is to run a full marathon, doing races is addicting! My point is that unless you try, you cannot say you cannot do sports.
Running is easy, you just need a pair of shoes, you can change your runs as you want, and you can progress pretty quickly. If you want to get serious about running, it helps grabbing a friend to go for a run and signing up for a race so you have an objective. Fortunately, there are plenty of races in the Bay Area. The next major race is the US Half in San Francisco on November 2nd (registration closes on October 2nd). I did it last year and it is one of the most beautiful races, plus you get to run on the Golden Gate Bridge! How awesome is that?
With that, grab a pair of shoes and go for a run! The best part about Berkeley is that you can quickly escape school, the city, and immerse yourself in nature. Trust me, it is worth the effort and you will feel energized!