Best Run for the Money - 2005
If you've been looking for motivation to get in shape, consider the "Sevenpeak," a run that's life-affirmingly beautiful for the fit and physically crippling (or at least damned challenging) for everyone else. Here's how it goes: Start at Oak and Cole streets in the Panhandle. Turn south on Cole to Parnassus Avenue, then head west three blocks to Willard Street. Turn left, go 15 paces, and head rightward up the block-long staircase that connects Willard and Edgewood Avenue. Keep going straight from the top of the stairs and hop over a chain into the woods a block later. Continue through the UCSF Surge Parking Lot and along the footpath that parallels Medical Center Way, cutting left along the brambled trail that emerges at the UCSF married student housing. Continue rightward uphill until you reach the 6-foot-wide paved pathway that climbs above the dorms. Hop another chain, and another one 100 yards later, continuing through the top of the Rotary International park that caps Mount Sutro. That's peak No. 1. Descend down Mount Sutro, taking Johnstone Drive to Clarendon Avenue. Cross Clarendon and you're back in the forest, running along the service road that heads up to the Sutro Tower radio and television antenna. About 50 yards before you get to the guard shack, cut through a fence opening onto Palo Alto Avenue, turning right onto Marview Way, before turning left onto a dirt trail that climbs next to the Twin Peaks Reservoir and pops out at Twin Peaks Boulevard. Summit both peaks on the dirt trails provided for this purpose. Those are peaks No. 2 and 3. Continue southwest on Twin Peaks Boulevard/Portola Drive to Mount Davidson for No. 4. Return via Twin Peaks for Nos. 5 and 6, and reclimb Mount Sutro for No. 7. Descend to the Panhandle. You'll have run between two and three hours, witnessed multiple panoramas of the Bay Area, explored uncharted S.F. byways, and gained and lost around 3,200 feet of elevation during an extended period of oxygen-depleted euphoria. That, or you'll have been blinkered the whole time by exhaustion, irreparably damaging muscles, ligaments, and knees. The choice is yours. Get training.