Author: Rebecca Eckart, GEd’13
Philadelphia and Penn have a lot of great places and opportunities for runners. Running on the Schuylkill River Trail has been especially beautiful this month, as the reds and golds of the autumn leaves cascade over the trail and reflect in the river. As many runners can probably attest, some days are harder than others to get out and go. But right now, with the lovely fall colors and the cool, crisp autumn air, it’s easy.
Over the summer, as I was saying goodbye to friends and preparing to move to Philly, I really hoped I’d be able to find a good running group at Penn. I started running about four years ago, and the reason I was able to keep running was that I had a close friend who ran and entered races with me. Thankfully, when I got to Penn, finding a group wasn’t hard at all!
The second Saturday I was on campus, the Graduate Student Center (GSC), in response to student requests, held a casual run. There was a good turnout, with close to twenty students attending, a mix of returning and first-year grad students. We ran from the GSC down to the Schuylkill River Trail, and once there, split up according to distance and pace. I met some other women with similar pacing and distance goals that day, and we’ve been running together on weekends since.
We’ve also entered races together at Penn and in Philly. In October, we ran in the Penn Park Homecoming 5k. The race was a lot of fun and we got official Homecoming 5K shirts. For me, half the fun of running in races is collecting shirts!
Just yesterday, several of us ran in the Philadelphia half-marathon. My running group and I are all first year grad students, so it was a real challenge to train for a half-marathon while trying to balance our academic, work, and personal schedules. Some of my friends had time goals for this race, but my goal was just to finish (which I did!).
Running has been an important part of my life at Penn. It has encouraged me to set new goals and enabled me to make friends outside of my graduate school. After our big race this Sunday, my group is planning to go out for Philly cheesesteaks, and I’m sure we will look for more events in the area to join.