Campus running routes, 5Ks, and more


By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

With more than 850 acres of property in beautiful Harborcreek Township, Penn State Behrend’s campus is a runner’s paradise.

Offering everything from paved paths to cross-country paths through fields to rugged trails through the Wintergreen Gorge to a brand new 8-lane competition-level track, you’ll never run out of places to…well, run at Behrend.

Another thing you’ll never run out of here? Hills. Just try to find a route around this campus that doesn’t include hills (not counting doing circles around the track!). The good thing, though, is that hills will make you a better, stronger, and faster runner/walker and you’ll learn to love them (or you’ll love to hate them).

In winter, the campus paths are well maintained and lighted, making it a safe alternative in the dark, snowy days of winter. And, yes, you should run outside in winter — it’s spectacular! (But, please be safety minded and run with a friend, or two…or ten).

I have several routes I like to run around campus with friends, including (click on the links for a map on

* A 5-mile Summer Loop.  This route starts on the Bayfront Bikeway trail (back corner of Erie lot) and winds its way down Shannon to Cooper Road and back up to campus via the Wintergreen Gorge trail before heading up to Knowledge Park to loop through the wooded paths and circle back to the parking lot.

* A 5-mile Winter Loop. This is much like my summer loop, but it cuts out the Wintergreen Gorge portion as it’s not safe to run through there in the winter (it’s not plowed or lighted) and we spend a little more time in Knowledge Park, which is both lighted, plowed.

* A 5K (3.1 miles) from Junker Center. This is a challenging course thanks to the giant hill that is old Station Road.

* A 12.5-miler from Knowledge Park. In the mood to go long? This is a fairly simple long run route takes advantage of the peaceful country roads you’ll find south of campus.

* A simple 1.5-mile loop in Knowledge Park. It may sound boring to loop, but Knowledge Park is wooded and beautiful any time of the year and, after 6 p.m., there is virtually no traffic, but plenty of street light.

Want more options?

Just search for “Behrend” on and you’ll find a whole list of running routes that other people planned, including some trail runs mapped by police services officer Dave Lesher and a nice  8-miler (beware of Kane Hill…it is, um, a challenge!) mapped by Chris Coulston, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Of course you can also map your own route. If you do, be sure to “unlock” it so the rest of us can try your route, too!

A few words about safety

Again, please run with a friend (or a few) because some of the routes I listed above take you into isolated areas that don’t see much traffic. There is safety in numbers.

And, of course, heed the basic rules of runner safety, including wearing reflective gear (white won’t cut it).

Racing around Behrend

Ready to test your meddle? You’ve got two opportunities to race around campus in October, which is, of course, one of the most gorgeous times to run on campus!

The Harvest Hoof-It is a 5K run or a 2.5-mile fun walk on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 9 a.m. sponsored by WCTL, Erie’s Christian radio station. More info/application here.

The Penn State Behrend cross-country team is hosting a Twilight 5K at Behrend on Friday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. The Twilight event includes a 5K run, a 2-mile fun walk and a kids’ race, too. More info/application will be posted here.

~ Heather

P.S. If you have questions about running at Behrend, or the upcoming races, feel free to email me at hjc13 at

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