Where to run, walk and hike in South Bend

I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, where the UW-Madison campus is seamlessly integrated into the city.

Local families and students alike stroll the same State Street, hike in the same arboretum and frequent the same restaurants and cafes without a second thought. So imagine my surprise when I came to Notre Dame and saw how completely divorced its students are from the rest of the South Bend community!

I’m now a senior, and I’ve realized I often feel more at home in South Bend than I do on campus. And as a marathoner, I feel most at home while running outdoors.

If you’re eager to get outside and explore South Bend, here are (from experience) three of the best trails to check out.

East Bank Trail

The East Bank Trail is great for a long, out-and-back run or bike ride. Tri-campus students can easily access it at the trail entrance on W. Angela Boulevard near Holy Cross College.

Much of the trail runs along the St. Joseph River and takes you past Howard Park, the Notre Dame Rowing facility, the farmer’s market and IU-South Bend.

If you’re down for an even longer run or ride (I use this part for my marathon training), you can take the trail to S. 26th Street and then turn right onto Mishawaka’s Northside Trail.

The Northside Trail offers gorgeous views of the river and Mishawaka’s beautiful parks and suspension bridges (my civil engineer boyfriend loves those). There are also plenty of drinking fountains in case you need a pick-me-up after traversing double-digit miles.

Riverside ‘West Bank’ Trail

Known as “West Bank” among the Notre Dame Running Club, the formal name for this trail is the Riverside Trail. (I just learned this while doing research for this column.)

The trail is about 3.5 miles long, providing another great option for out-and-back journeys, but it also provides easy access to the East Bank and LaSalle trails if you’d rather run/ride/hike a loop.

You can access the trail by turning right down the hill on W. Angela Boulevard and then turning right on Riverside Drive at the roundabout.

The trail runs right along the river and provides beautiful sunrise views. It also takes you through a residential neighborhood and past the newly-revitalized Pinhook Park.

At least three drinking fountains can be found along the trail, and bathrooms are available in Pinhook Park.

LaSalle Trail

Have you ever wanted to run/ride/hike across state lines? The LaSalle Trail makes a trip to Michigan easy.

You enter the trail by turning left on Dublin Road, just past Douglas Road and the Inn at Saint Mary’s.

Numerous restaurants, including Culver’s, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ and Subway, are available right off the trail between Cleveland and Darden roads.

The LaSalle Trail proper extends 3.5 miles to the state line and connects to the Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail once you reach Michigan. (You won’t even notice you’re on a new trail.)

The River Valley Trail extends an additional 3-or-so miles to the Pulaski Highway. There, you can then take S. Third Street north to Fort Street and hop back on the River Valley Trail, which takes you into the heart of Niles, Michigan.

Despite completing an 18-mile out-and-back run on the LaSalle/River Valley trail, I’ve never traversed the entire thing, so if you’re looking for a long bike ride (or maybe training for an ultramarathon?), the trail provides plenty of ground to cover.

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The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


Flaherty Hall hosts first color run to benefit breast cancer research

Runners on South Quad on Saturday morning will turn pink for a cause at Flaherty Hall’s color run, the Flaherty Fights 5K.

“Flaherty Fights 5K is our revamped signature event supporting breast cancer awareness and research,” junior and Flaherty Hall vice president Karina Solman said. “In the past, we have done Flaherty Fights, a tabling bake sale event in [LaFortune Student Center], but this year, we decided to amp it up to a color run 5K with pink powder and pink-themed snacks and t-shirts at the finish line.”

This will be the first year Flaherty has held a 5K run. Solman said the hall executives wanted a new signature event that was “more fun, interactive and campus-and-community-facing,” while still retaining the enjoyment the bake sale event brought attendees in years past.

All proceeds from the 5K will be donated to the breast cancer research program at Saint John’s Cancer Institute, which is based out of Santa Monica, California.

The Flaherty Fights 5K will take place Saturday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. by the South Quad flagpole. (Courtesy of Gracie Wetli)

Solman said hall executives settled on Saint John’s after Flaherty donor and namesake Mary Hesburgh Flaherty visited the dorm last spring and talked to its residents about her life and charity work.

“This event means a lot to all of us in Flaherty because Mary Flaherty is a breast cancer survivor,” Solman said. “When she came and spoke to us last year, we were all moved by her story.”

Solman added that when she, Flaherty Hall president Gracie Wetli and co-vice president Ceci Driano assumed their roles in hall government last spring, they wanted to make their dorm’s signature event “extra special.”

After deciding the event would be a 5K, “we reached out to Mary Flaherty about where she would like the proceeds to go, and she suggested St. John’s … she has been chair of the board of their foundation in the past and is still very much involved with them,” Solman said. “They have a world-renowned breast cancer research program and also work in promoting awareness for women, so she told us that they would be honored to be the recipients of our fundraising efforts.”

The 3.1-mile run will begin at the South Quad flag pole at 9 a.m. Saturday. Participants can register the morning of the run beginning at 8:15 a.m. or online in advance using Student Shop ND. Registration is $15 per participant.

Hall president Wetli encouraged anyone interested to participate, even those who do not consider themselves runners.

“Since this is a color run 5K, it is meant to be very lighthearted and fun,” she said. “Walkers are more than welcome to participate in the 5K, and you will be supporting a great cause in the process. There will also be a free shirt for participants while supplies last.”

Wetli added that both 5K participants and others should come to the bake sale at the start and finish line, which will have donuts and bagels.

“We are very proud of the effort put forth by many members of the Flaherty Hall community to make this event happen. Our signature events commissioners, Celeste Hirschi, Jane Stallman and Adi Yabut, have been extremely helpful in planning this event,” Welti said. “I would also like to give a special thanks to our hall staff … for supporting us in planning this event. We have gotten to work with parking service, RecSports and various vendors throughout the process.”

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