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Trail running class goes the distance

The trail running class offers students beautiful views. (Calli Storrs)
The trail running class offers students beautiful views. (Calli Storrs)

Each Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7 a.m., 15 students pile into vans, still rubbing sleep from their eyes but excited to be driven off campus for the trail running physical education class.

The trail running class has been part of the curriculum for at least eight years, and is instructed by Cross Country Coach Ivory Veale. The class is offered during the spring semester only; Veale teaches hiking instead during the fall.

The class goes from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and the students are transported to off-campus trails in the Mills shuttles. The running destinations range from Alameda, to Redwood Regional Park, to the Pinetop Trail on campus.

Sophomore Taylor Rose enjoys being introduced to new running trails, although she finds it difficult to wake up early for the class.

“It’s hard when my alarm goes off, but that’s the hardest part of the class,” Rose said. “After that, it’s really nice to be out in the early morning.”

Rose’s favorite part of the class is getting to be out in nature and wishes she had more time to do it.

“The only thing I would change about the class is a larger time slot so I can appreciate the trails and scenery.”

Sophomore Hannah Horten also enjoys getting off campus and out in nature first thing in the morning. Since she doesn’t have a car, the class provides her with the opportunity to go out and run trails she wouldn’t regularly have access to.

“My favorite part of the class is that I get to start my morning somewhere in nature,” Horten said. “The class is a good opportunity to get off campus and get some exercise.”

The class is accessible for all running levels, and many students opt to walk the trails instead. The classes are designed around the students’ individual fitness levels so that every student is able to get something valuable out of the class.

“I have a lot of friends who just walk, and they love it,” Horten said. “The first hour of their morning, they get to go on a hike.”

Horten tries her best to run the entire allotted time, but finds that can sometimes be difficult. Students are encouraged to run and to challenge themselves, but are able to choose their own pace.

“Coach Ivory will definitely push you to run and encourage you to, but he won’t force you to do anything,” Horten said. “He’s definitely very encouraging.”

This is Veale’s second semester teaching the course, and he enjoys watching students make progress throughout the class.

“My favorite part is seeing the student’s progression to the end of the class,” Veale said. “Seeing those who started off as walkers go to joggers, and joggers go to runners.”

Veale would recommend this class to any student, regardless of their running level. He encourages students to challenge themselves in order to make progress.

“I would encourage any student to take this class, not just a student experienced in running,” Veale said. “Because there are always progressions in anything you’re doing, you will always get better at whatever it is that you start.”