RunVassar navigates trails around campus

Members of the organization RunVassar take on one of their regular routes around Vassar’s campus. RunVassar on average will have group runs four times a week. Photo By: Spencer Davis
Members of the organization RunVassar take on one of their regular routes around Vassar’s campus. RunVassar on average will have group runs four times a week. Photo By: Spencer Davis
Members of the organization RunVassar take on one of their regular routes around
Vassar’s campus. RunVassar on average will have group runs four times a week. Photo By: Spencer Davis

The RunVassar student organization prides itself on promoting a healthy lifestyle and as the premiere recreational running group on the Vassar College campus. This student-run organization welcomes all to join. For the inexperienced, they offer simple, day-to-day training programs, optional group runs to encourage running buddies and a guide to local running routes in and around Vassar’s campus. For the experienced, RunVassar offer optional group runs to explore new trails and find motivation during tough workouts, day-to-day training programs for longer distances and harder training and a comprehensive shoe guide with reviews from knowledgeable staff members and coaches.

The club has weekly group runs every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:45 p.m. and every Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. In an emailed statement, Communications Chair Madison Senior ’15 wrote, “Anyone can join! We encourage students, faculty, staff, as well as members of the community to join.” She continued, “Anyone who is looking for motivation to get out and jog or run.”

President Leighton Suen ’14 wrote in an emailed statement, “RunVassar allows people of all different running levels to meet each other and run together. We are an inclusive club; anyone can join and come to our group runs.”

Vice President Ronald Yu also  wrote that, “Our goal is to provide a positive running experience for people of all levels and goals. There is no commitment other than bringing your shoes and a smile. It’s that simple.”

RunVassar adhering to its status as a no-commitment club, group leaders explained how no sign-up or other commitment is needed to join the group, either for one run or more. Suen wrote, “We know Vassar students are especially busy, so we offer the group runs as a service that people can come to whenever they have free time and want to run with other people.” Suen also noted that these run groups also have members of the Poughkeepsie community running alongside Vassar students or members of the staff.

Suen, Senior and Yu all stressed how everyone runs at a different pace and that this would not be an issue for those looking to join the organization. Suen said, “Our group runs are for everyone. Our group run leaders run at all different levels, so no one is ever left behind by themselves.”

Senior added that the organization crafts its running pace based on the needs of the running group. Senior explained, “Our runs are typically relaxed. We push different paces (different people have different running abilities) and it really just depends on how everybody is feeling that day.”

The concept of responding to the needs of the runners present on a given day also translates into the decisions about where and how long a run group will travel. Senior explained, “People have different goals when they join RunVassar…either to get back into shape, stay in shape, or train for a particular race or contest. These goals really effect the amount of days people attend and the level of difficulty they make each run.”

Senior also stressed the relaxed atmosphere RunVassar seeks to offer. She said, “The people who come out regularly run the entire route, however you decide how far you want to go! If people want to run a shorter distance, they can always start off with the group and turn around whenever they feel necessary. We are confident that anyone who enjoys working out and wants to find fitness partners will be satisfied with RunVassar.”

Yu added, “We have run leaders that cover paces between 6:30/mile and 12:00/mile and RunVassar has a policy of leaving no one behind. A typical run is between three and five miles although this can be adjusted to the desires of each runner.”

The organization’s website lists a total of 11 different routes that the club runs. The most popular route is the Vassar College Farm. Senior explained, “We typically do the Vassar Farm loop, which is about four miles from the Main Building. We also do campus loops and other trail runs around campus.”

Yu agreed that the Farm is the most popular route. Yu noted, “Our most popular route is the farm loop which goes to the Vassar Farm and follows the main road past the Rugby fields, down to the Collins Field Station, back to the Rugby fields via a trail through the woods, before going back to the Main Building for a total of 3.9 miles.”

To find the running times, which have recently changed because of early-darkness, check out or email As of now, at the time of publication, the group runs are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:45 p.m., as well as on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

Senior made it very clear that four times a week is the target, but that this is not usually exceeded. “We do not actively promote running on your own outside of these four days, but we do have members who run on their own other day,” she explained.

She continued, “We feel four times a week, especially for the newer, less experienced runners is plenty (that’s assuming they can even make all four runs that particular week).”

Besides just being a relaxed running environment for any to join, RunVassar also takes the fundraising efforts very seriously and works diligently to achieve the fundraising goals that they set for themselves. Regarding fundraising, Yu explained, “Our main fundraising effort this year is for our Relay for Life Team, which is trying to meet the goal of $1000 by the time of the annual Vassar Relay Event on April 15, 2014.”

Other initiatives include helping with the Halloween 5K Fun Run and the Founder’s Day 5K Fun Run. The Halloween Fun Run takes place on Vassar’s campus and participants are encouraged to dress up in a Halloween costume.

The club attempts to fundraise in any form possible, especially through tabling in the College Center in Main Building. Senior reiterated their primary, athletic goal. She noted, “I want to stress and make it clear that RunVassar is a club that is here to promote the physical well-being of individuals, without the commitment of being a full-time student-athlete,” she said. “It is a fun environment to work out and make new friends!”

RunVassar’s members stretch and mingle before going on a long run around Vassar’s campus. The group focuses on promoting a healthy running regimen in order to maintain an active lifestyle. Photo By: Spencer Davis

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