God did not create all running routes equally.
Here in the metro, every turn offers opportunity for discovery and scenery — at least for a former farm kid.
All I used to have to run back in the boonies were gravel roads plotted in mile-by-mile square blocks. Unless I went trespassing into a farmer’s field, I was stuck jogging boxes.
Which I didn’t (and still don’t) mind. But the city offers options. Here are my five most favorite routes to hit up on your next jog.
5. Wellness Center track
The Wally Wellman is the only running route that I pay for (through student fees), so I like to get some bang for my buck.
I enjoy the third floor track, as much as one can enjoy a track. Instead of squares, I’m jogging ovals. That I’m paying for.
The basketballers below often offer their theater, if you find high school post-jocks to be entertaining, and the Swellness is always sunny and 75 degrees. My four other routes can’t boast that.
4. Downtown at bar close
This route is not for the faint of heart, but it does provide exhilarating obstacles and chances for showmanship.
Drunken villagers are generally supportive of joggers, yelling liners like, “Run faster!” and “Look at that guy; he’s running!”
While most streetlight people are harmless, I’m terrified nonetheless during this run, so I try to find a partner or assemble a squad before embarking.
And also, stay on Broadway. Roberts Street terrifies this bumpkin at 2 p.m., let alone 2 a.m.
3. Historic SoFa
Nothing motivates me more than running by ritzy houses in south Fargo.
As a future educator of tomorrow’s youths, this will be as close as I can get to the bourgeois. And boy, do these bourgeois have nice sidewalks and trees. So nice, in fact, that the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association brags about it on its website:
“The sidewalks are located on both sides of the street and are wide enough that two full sized adults can walk comfortably side-by-side down the sidewalk,” it states. “Boulevard trees are plentiful and provide shade to pedestrians.”
Back on the farm, I didn’t know what sidewalks or trees were until I turned 17 and got a car.
Speaking of nice sidewalks and trees, the campus of North Dakota State is another favorite route.
Along with the scenery, campus just bustles with life.
Freshmen migrating to and fro dining centers. Sophomores staring into the abyss at the Union. Juniors weeping tiredly near the library. Seniors sleeping on the sidewalk. Super-seniors panhandling on the corner of Albrecht and Centennial.
I just can’t hide my Bison pride when I see my fellow comrades! They make me want to keep running away from my responsibilities.
1. The river
The Red River of the North and her accompanying trails are my favorite places to run in Fargo-Moorhead.
Starting up by El Zagal golf course, I can meander alongside the river for hours. Or minutes, depending on how much dairy I’ve consumed in the last hour.
The exhilaration down here is unparalleled.
Sometimes you see deer in the woods. Sometimes you see people in the woods. Sometimes the river flash floods and you spontaneously begin training for a triathlon.
Cutting across bridges into Moorhead offers the exotic thrill of entering Minnesota, too. I was once stopped by a Mountie near the Hjemkomst Center, asking to see my ID. Being a native Minnesotan, I didn’t have any issues. We just swapped lefse recipes and went on our merry ways.
You shouldn’t have any issues, too, especially if you follow my advice and routes!