April Fools: College Releases New Battlefield Running Policy
By Garrett Glaeser, Sports Editor
You’ve heard of Turkey Trots and Reindeer Runs but get ready for the Gettysburg Gallop! That’s right, the College has listened to alums who have expressed a disappointment that they didn’t enjoy the battlefield enough and has instituted a new policy where students will be required to run the park roads.
“In each student’s time here they will grow mentally as students and physically as runners,” said Dean of Students Jeff Foster and Athletic Director Mike Mattia in a joint statement. “The battlefields offer miles of runnable roads that will ensure the health and fitness of our students as well as intimately introducing them to different aspects of the Gettysburg Campaign and the events of July 1-3, 1863.”
Each class year will have different requirements to ensure improvement over the course of one’s tenure at the school.
Part of First-Year’s Jaeger Center orientation is a timed trail, a run to the Peace Light and back. It’s about two miles and must be done in under twenty minutes. Fail, and you’re suspended until you do so incoming students start training now.
For sophomores the challenge is adding the Barlow’s Knoll loop to the elongated Peace Light venture. The total length is approximately four miles but there is no time limit. Sophomores upon declaring their major must complete the running requirement.
Junior year expands students’ exposure to the battlefield along Seminary Ridge. During fall reading days (when they return) all students will be required to run along Confederate Avenue to the Longstreet Tower, veering left down to the Peach Orchard, and concluding their trek at Devil’s Den. Because the finish line is so far away, the College has been gracious enough to have shuttles bring students back to campus.
From junior fall to senior spring there is a lull in the running requirements, the reason being that the final test for outgoing class years is the toughest. During the week in between the end of finals and graduation (again when it returns) each senior must start at the Alabama monument and scale the side face of Big Round Top as well as the shorter, but steeper, incline to Little Round Top.
At the top of the smaller Round Top, seniors may pause to catch their breath, take in a few views, and prepare themselves for the final leg. To fully complete the last component of this running policy, seniors will have to run down the other side of Little Round Top and across Cemetery Ridge. Passing the Pennsylvania monument, the Copse of Trees, and the Angle, students will conclude where their Gettysburg journey began four years prior during the First-Year walk, at the National Cemetery.
This sentimental end to an arduous experience will surely brighten students’ moods after the toughest stretch of running to date.
The Civil War Era Studies department is working on making a narrative podcast for students to listen to while training and completing the actual run. The hope is to reinforce the mixing between mental and physical agility.
Gettysburg intends to make runners out of us all and hopefully in the process our track & cross-country teams gain some new talent to take the Bullets running programs to new heights.
Look for an official announcement coinciding with the class of 2026. It remains undecided whether current First-Years through juniors will have to complete the requirements, though it seems increasingly likely.
My advice? Start running now.