U.Va.’s hidden running spots


You put on your rarely-used sneakers, find a playlist to take your mind off of the pain and then embark on your quest to find fitness. 

Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

We’ve all been there before. You just binged the entirety of “The Office” for the eighth time. The dumpling truck was breakfast, lunch and dinner for the past three and a half days. You got a cramp just from pushing the button for the elevator, and you think that whenever someone says “Rotunda,” they are talking about you. It is time for a run to preserve what’s left of your dignity.

It is a warm spring afternoon. You put on your rarely-used sneakers, find a playlist to take your mind off of the pain and then embark on your quest to find fitness. Upon looking out the window, however, you are reminded of the greatest flaw of the University of Virginia: too many people like to exercise. The sidewalks are experiencing traffic jams due to the exorbitant levels of exercise, and every treadmill from Slaughter to North Grounds has a sweaty occupant. You now are torn between going back to bed and running in place for 30 minutes. 

But there is a solution for you! Based upon years of scouting, consultation of secret societies and readings of Mr. Jefferson’s private journals, I have stumbled upon a list of the lesser-known running spots around Grounds. Here are the locations that I am allowed to publish. 

Upper Level of Dome Room, Rotunda — This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Simply walk into the Rotunda, go up two flights of stairs and you will find yourself at the start of a circular track that is begging for you to run on it. It in many ways resembles the track elevated over the basketball courts at the AFC — one difference being that whereas the AFC track is elliptical with a series of straightaways, the track in the Dome Room is perfectly circular, providing training for your heart and your balance. When you start to get dizzy, just start running in the opposite direction. If you plan ahead, you could get some friends to do their homework at the nearby tables and hand you cups of water as you jog past. 

Lambeth Field — A classic outdoor option, where, instead of running on the actual field which will undoubtedly be in use, you should try weaving in and out of the pillars at the top of the stairs. This provides a dynamic nuance to your average running experience, and for extra motivation, think of those pillars as the failed exam grades of your future. Dodge those Ls! If you get really good at this, you can try out the U-Guides level, where you attempt the same thing but while running backwards. 

JPJ Arena — This is a very underrated option for getting your heart rate up. Simply get tickets to a basketball game the old-fashioned way, wait until a crucial moment in the game (ideally late in the second half), and then run onto the court. For an extra challenge, try to steal the ball and make a three before the real running takes place. The security personnel will be out to get you like all your professors seem to be, so make sure you stretch before this race begins. If you can make it out of the arena without getting caught, you can come back the following week to do it again, getting into a good routine of exercise. 

The Lawn — One of the few times that people exercise with a smile on their face, streaking the Lawn is a bit of a unique running opportunity. Unlike your peers who tend to do this in the early hours of the morning, is it a lot less crowded in the middle of the day. According to custom, start at the Rotunda, run to Homer, circle back, resist the urge to visit the dumpling truck and then wish Mr. Jefferson “good day.” I will note that doing this at noon with all of your clothes on only gets you a few strange looks and does not serve to motivate, so make sure you are actually streaking. Trust me, you will impress yourself with your time from the Tundy to Homer if you are only wearing headphones.  

Run for Student Council — Finally, this is an option that is lesser known to me, one that I hear a lot about but I have never witnessed. If someone invites you to go “run for StudCo”, jump at the opportunity. I have heard that it looks good on your resume, although I’m not sure how exercise could impress a future employer. 

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