The Best Places to Run a Mile

Underground Fitness

Underground Fitness

Warm and wind-free, Underground Fitness is a new, students-only exercise facility in Olmsted Center.

Underground Fitness opened on the first day of the spring semester and is already wildly popular. Individual TV screens on each elliptical and treadmill are part of the reason, but convenience and quality may make this the best place to run a mile.

More of the Best Places to Run a Mile

Alan Webb finishes the 2011 Grand Blue Mile

The Grand Blue Mile

The Drake Relays attracts some of the very greatest athletes on Earth. For just one race, some of those athletes step off the blue oval and onto the streets of Des Moines — and anyone can run this race. Each year, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield partners with the Relays to present the Grand Blue Mile. This road race begins at Western Gateway Park (home to the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park) and ends just outside Wellmark’s Des Moines headquarters, a LEED Platinum certified building dedicated to health and wellness.

With race options from professional to recreational, the Grand Blue Mile gives runners the chance to test their times against world-class greats like Alan Webb (American record holder in the mile at 3:46.91) or enjoy a relaxing jog through a booming part of downtown Des Moines.

The Knapp Center Track

Knapp Center Track

An easy way to avoid the elements and the treadmill, this simple blue ring wraps around the 7,000-seat arena that the Bulldogs call home. With the bleachers swept back, the Knapp Center track opens up in front of you, sweeping gentle curves around the upper level stands.

Rafters and catwalks abound overhead, bedecked with banners boasting Drake’s best ballers, including Dolph Pulliam and Wanda Ford, in addition to the legendary 1969 Final Four team. Below the track, Ron Pearson Court echoes to the sounds of students shooting hoops and playing pickup volleyball. The spirit of Bulldog athletics envelopes you when you run a mile at the Knapp Center.

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