They're there every day. They're there in the early morning, when students yawn their way to their first class. They're there at late afternoon, when students' trek back to their rooms. And whether they make people feel guilty, envious, or scornful, they're out there, day after day, stretching their muscles and strengthing their legs. They are the ensemble of joggers who dot campus walkways and streets with ears connected to a pair of headphones and eyes peeled to streets. There are dozens of students, faculty and administrators who take a chunk of their day to stay in shape. Even President Sheldon Hackney puts on his running shoes and hits the pavement around campus. It's hard to find the casual jogger. Most said this week that like true creatures of habit, they run at the same time of day, on the same days of the week, usually through the same basic route. "It can become a ritual," Wharton senior Jonathan Sobel said, "I see the same people running the same hours every day." Although joggers have a reputation for early-morning workouts -- viewed by some as antithetical to a college student's scheduele -- most students at the University take to the streets between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. when classes are over for the day. According to College junior David Yudis, running in the afternoon is a great way to wind down the day, saying it prepares him for a night of studying. "It clears my head from schoolwork," Yudis said. Students contacted this week said that while they prefer to jog around campus, many take longer, more challenging routes. Several pointed to the run past the Philadelphia Museum of Art and boathouse row across the Schuylkill River -- a four-mile trip from the center of campus and back. Even Hackney said yesterday that he has run up the famous museum steps, Rocky style. But while Rocky Balboa approached the museum from South Philadelphia, the President said that he enjoys the run along the scenic Schuylkill from boathouse row. He admitted, however, that he sometimes drives down to the row for his run instead of starting from campus. But the more serious runners take their feet and Walkmen into Center City and Fairmount Park, enduring the traffic congestion and rising air pollution. Although students said the urban environment is hostile to runners, most said that they survive the traffic and concrete. They added that city jogging provides ample people-watching material -- considered a key to a good jog by many students -- and eclectic architecture. "I like seeing faces and buildings," College senior Allana Regan said. "It makes the time go by quicker, and you never know what you'll encounter." "I think it's exciting to run in the city because whenever people are around I feel more motivated," Regan said earlier this week. "It gives me more energy. But there are also those who crave the solitude and relative safety of Franklin Field to burn some calories. College senior Shin Leung said that the track, which is padded, is more comfortable and healthier for her legs. "It's kind of boring running around the track, but it's better for my shins and knees," Leung said this week. While jogging around a track would seem to be an unstructured activity, University athletic coaches said students should learn a few steps before they start running. Assistant Coach for Women's Track and Field Tony Tenisci said that the key to successful jogging without injury is to stretch leg and back muscles. He emphasized, though, that students should start with a half a mile to a mile jog before they stretch to let their muscles warm up. He also added that students should stretch after they jog to prevent cramping and soreness. Tenisci also suggested to have any noticeable effect, students should jog for a minimum of 20 minutes. He added that students who want to start jogging should begin by combining some jogging and walking into a regular schedule. It is this regular schedule that helps many students and administrators deal with the stresses of daily college life. "It's the best thing to do to get rid of stress," College sophomore Cesar Hernandez said earlier this week. "It gets rid of tension." Hackney started to run in his Princeton days, when he said the pressures of teaching, researching and serving on committees started to wear him down. But, there is another side to jogging that some said they fear. Old Man Winter. Leung said she will start climbing High Rise stairs or practicing aerobics when the temperature drops. But others said they are too strongly motivated to let the cold weather stop them. One jogger described it as a "compulsive thing", another said he "just has to do it". College sophomore Margaret Shea, however, didn't care to philosophize. "I don't know, I just like it," Shea said.Comments powered by Disqus
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