Gruelingest Run

The Fire Trail

On the road that curves up from Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium to the Lawrence Hall of Science, there is a place that is indelibly connected to the mind of every extreme runner in Berkeley. It goes by the name of the Fire Trail. It starts behind the Haas clubhouse at a two-level, ten-car parking lot. From there you can see up to a little clearing way up there, five hundred feet higher in altitude and crowded by oak, eucalyptus, and redwood. The climb is abrupt, crossing over the Strawberry Creek and then heading up. After trudging uphill for ten minutes, you come to the most loathsome of sections — the awful connector, 250 yards of 45-degree grade that fills your muscle tissue with lactic acid and forces your breath from your lungs. After your legs calm down, you climb to that clearing. This is where the weak stop to look down at the Golden Gate and the parking lot from whence they came. But the strong continue all the way up to the point where the Trail meets Grizzly Peak above the Lawrence Hall of Science. From there, the run down is rewarding, as you descend all lathered in sweat like a prizefighter. In all, it takes 45 minutes to an hour.

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