Running trails back in action for spring

The Twin Cities provide miles of running paths to explore.

mackenzie collins

With the scent of blossoming lilacs filling the air and the reemergence of 70-degree, sunny days, Twin Cities running paths are welcoming winter gym-goers back to the outdoors. On top of the beautiful weather, hitting a running path could be a good way to fight off joining the estimated one in four Minnesota adults who are obese. Lucky for University of Minnesota students, Minneapolis and St. Paul provide miles of paths through the University and surrounding area. There are endless miles to conquer on paths along the Chain of Lakes and Mississippi River, the regional trails of Three River Parks District, Summit Avenue, Midtown Greenway and many others. University Running Club President Ryan Daye said heâÄôs a huge fan of the terrain in the Twin Cities. âÄúIâÄôve traveled quite a bit, and itâÄôs up there with Boston and San Francisco in accessibility without having to worry about traffic,âÄù Daye said. Students interested in joining the running community can tackle the paths on their own or with the University Running Club, which meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 4:30 p.m. Fridays in front of the Goldy Gopher statue by the University Recreation Center. For the enjoyment and fitness of University students, a variety of paths and distances with directions are provided below for recreational runs from four to 20 miles. The short runs leave from and return to the clubâÄôs meeting point by the Rec Center. The long run starts at the Midtown Greenway intersection at 27th Avenue Southeast and University Avenue. SHORT RUNS 1) About four Miles. This run will take you along the Mississippi River around campus.Follow Harvard Street Southeast until you hit East River Parkway and take a left. Follow the paths along East River Road in the direction of St. Paul until you come to the Franklin Avenue Bridge. Cross the Franklin Avenue Bridge and take a right onto West River Parkway, where you will follow this path until you reach the pedestrian bridge to the East Bank. Once across, connect with East River Road until you return to Harvard Street Southeast, and take a left and return to the Recreation Center. 2) About four miles. This run will take you to Nicollet Island and St. Anthony Main. Head toward University Avenue and follow the road all the way to Hennepin Avenue, where you will take a left. Follow Hennepin Avenue across the bridge onto Nicollet Island. Turn around after crossing over Nicollet Island and follow Hennepin Avenue back until you hit Main Street Southeast. Follow this along the Mississippi River until you come to Sixth Avenue Southeast and take a left. Follow this for two blocks until you hit University Avenue. Take a right, and youâÄôre on your way back to campus. 3) About 5.5 miles. This run will take you along the Mississippi River and the Stone Arch Bridge. Follow Harvard Street Southeast until you hit East River Parkway and take a left. Follow this until you see the pedestrian bridge connecting the East and West banks. Take this to the West Bank, where youâÄôll take a right onto West River Parkway. Follow West River Parkway until you hit Portland Avenue South, where youâÄôll take a right to get to Stone Arch Bridge. Cross Stone Arch Bridge back over to the East Bank, where you will take a left onto Eighth Street Southeast. Follow this until you hit Hennepin Avenue. Take Hennepin until you take a left onto Fourth Street Southeast to follow the road back to campus. 4) About six miles. This run will take you to St. Thomas University along the Mississippi River and back to campus. Follow Harvard Street Southeast until you hit East River Parkway and take a left. Follow East River Parkway until you come to the Marshall Avenue Bridge. Cross the Mississippi River here and take a right onto West River Parkway. Follow West River Parkway back to the Washington Avenue Bridge to cross back over to campus. LONG RUNS About six miles. This run will take you to St. Thomas University along the Mississippi River and back to campus. Follow Harvard Street Southeast until you hit East River Parkway and take a left. Follow East River Parkway until you come to the Marshall Avenue Bridge. Cross the Mississippi River here and take a right onto West River Parkway. Follow West River Parkway back to the Washington Avenue Bridge to cross back over to campus.