Runners know that the best way to explore a new place is to get out and run. But having an idea of where to start is always a good idea. Luckily, Bloomington has a wealth of great places to run.
For students of Indiana University, campus is the natural starting point. IU has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and just wandering the shady paths in the rough square formed by Indiana Avenue, 3rd Street, Union Street, and 17th Street is an enjoyable way to log a few miles. For a basic campus loop just under three miles, try running 3rd Street to Union Street to 10th Street to Indiana Avenue.
From campus, you can easily reach other parts of the city, including the B-Line Trail and Bryan Park. An easy 4.5-mile loop takes you through the heart of Bloomington’s downtown, south on the B-Line, and then over to Bryan Park and the quiet neighborhoods south of campus before finishing up on Jordan Avenue and through campus to the Showalter Fountain and 7th Street.
If you are interested in running on natural surfaces, you are in luck. Just northeast of campus lies the IU cross country course. When the cross country course is not in use for meets, community members are welcome to run, walk, and even cross country ski its wide grass paths (in winter). The best way to reach the cross country course on foot is to run east on 10th Street, cross carefully at SR 45/46 (there is a traffic light and crossing signal, but it’s a big, busy intersection, so please be cautious!), and then follow the paths next to the CIB building to Range Road. You can enter the cross country course across from the IU Data Center. There is also some permit parking available there.
For those interested in testing their speed in a road race, one of the biggest local 5Ks is Hoosiers Outrun Cancer, which benefits the IU Health Olcott Center and takes place this Saturday, September 17. Bloomington also has a spring half marathon, the Hoosier Half Marathon on April 8. For a calendar of local races, visit the Magnificent 7 Race Series online.
I’ve just barely scratched the surface of the running possibilities in Bloomington. Each of the routes I suggested is almost endlessly adjustable, and can connect to spots that are farther afield, like the Jackson Creek Trail, Olcott Park, Clear Creek Trail, Polly Grimshaw Trail, Griffy Lake trails, and more. The area around Bloomington is also known for its public lands and trail systems. To find more ideas, consider using tools like MapMyRun and Strava to look up local routes. More importantly, to find running friends and take advantage of local knowledge, try looking into one of the area’s running clubs, such as the IU Run Club, Bloomington Area Runners Association, or Indiana Female Fellraisers.
Miranda Addonizio received an M.A. in Journalism from Indiana University. She has been a runner for twenty years, twelve of those in Bloomington, and took up ultramarathoning in 2014. Miranda has also served on the executive committee of the Bloomington Area Runners Association. She blogs occasionally at www.readmuchrunfar.com.