By Michael Cummings
Spring will be here soon, and Grinnellians who haven’t given up on their New Year’s resolution yet may be trying to find a good place to go on runs once the weather warms up. Despite the small size of the town, experienced runners have managed to find a number of good routes in and around the town.
For Alosha Southern ’17, a captain of the cross country team, most runs begin in the same place.
“Most of the routes I know start at the Bear, because I learned them from the cross country team,” Southern said, before delving into a route she calls “Penrose.”
“You start at the Bear, and you go left and then you go all the way down 10th, and then you turn left onto Penrose, which is like, once you can’t go straight anymore, where Ahrens Park is you just turn left. You turn all lefts, basically, it’s this big rectangle,” Southern said.
The Penrose route continues northwest of the College before looping down past the golf course and back to the Bear.
“It’s actually kind of interesting because you end up in the wealthy, suburban Grinnell area, which is just very different from the rest of Grinnell,” Southern said.
Those looking for an extra challenge should consider an extension to that route, she suggested. Rather than turning left on Penrose, you turn right and end up on a dirt road outside the city.
“I’ve done this route when it’s wet, and it’s just such a bummer because there’s just mud and your shoes are getting heavier and heavier,” Southern said.
The Penrose route is about three miles, or seven miles with the extension.
Southern also suggested a run to Arbor Lake, which is three miles round trip. Southern noted that that was a good route because the loop around Arbor Lake is one-mile-long, allowing runners to choose their own distance from there.
However, Southern admitted that she hadn’t run either of these routes recently.
“It’s been a while since I’ve run outside, because in the cold months I’m not trying to run outside. If I wanted to inflict that kind of misery on myself I would be on the track team,” Southern said.
Another Grinnellian runner is Professor Vicki Bentley-Condit, anthropology. As she isn’t a cross country runner, her route usually starts at her home on East Street.
“What I generally prefer to do is just walk out my door and not actually go someplace to start. I live over on East Street, so when I walk out my door I go south, and I go to the end of East Street, and I take a left and I go to that end, and then I take a right and go a little bit further, and I turn around and come back,” Bentley-Condit explained.
This route is probably not well-suited for beginning runners due to its length.
“Round trip it’s like 13.2 [miles] give or take,” Bentley-Condit said.
That’s not the peak of Bentley-Condit’s distance, however.
“If I’m doing a long run, I’ll drive out to the high school and run out to Rock Creek,” Bentley-Condit said. “It’s a much more challenging route than running on East Street. [East Street] is a relatively flat route,” she said, noting the many steep hills on the path to Rock Creek.
“Depending on my starting point that’ll be like a 16 or an 18-mile trip,” she said.
Bentley-Condit, a marathoner, has just recently completed a marathon in Hawaii, making that her 50th state.
“I just finished the 50-state circuit, I finished in Maui on January 15. So I’ve done all 50 states plus DC. Grand total I think I’ve done 67 marathons or longer,” she said. “I don’t run every day, I don’t have time, that’s not possible. So when I do run I do distance.”
Going forward, Bentley-Condit hopes to get a sub-4 hour time in all 50 states. She’s also aiming at running 100 total marathons.
While most students probably can’t keep up with Professor Bentley-Condit, one thing is for sure: Whether you’re training for a marathon, running with the cross country team or just trying to get out there and do a mile, there are plenty of options for running routes nearby.