I’ve been extremely lucky throughout my life to live in true running communities where there are plenty of places to run and people to run with. From Austin to Chapel Hill to Burlington, I’ve never struggled to find a place to run and clearly took that for granted. Over the last week, I’ve realized that having a place to run is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Lewiston is definitely not a running town. Until today (when it was 65), I didn’t see a single runner. Zero. I’ve run on the bike path in town. I’ve run on the track. I’ve run through a ton of neighborhoods. And I’ve been completely alone. Cars aren’t exactly hostile, but not unlike Findlay, OH where I went for a disaster of a run a couple of years ago, they are certainly surprised to see the runner girl in neon with her ponytail swishing back and forth. The Hokas probably aren’t helping me. The roads and sidewalks here aren’t so great either. Even in the safe neighborhoods, sidewalks are broken up and uneven. Because it’s a rough town, I’ve also started running with pepper spray and my phone which significantly diminishes my zen of running. Better than not running, though.
Today, however, the Bates track was clear enough to run on and there were a few people out. I even had a “friend” who was doing 200s near where I was doing 300s. After I finished, he ran up to me and asked if I was “that 3K girl from Bates.” Flattering, but I am a long call from college and I hate the 3K. Regardless, we jogged some laps together and it turns out he was a sub4 miler back in the day from Mexico who ran for Cal State. Work brings him to Maine too and like me, his first act was to find his places to run. We complained about the sidewalks for a bit and then went our separate ways and on the way home, I found myself grateful for just a little runner connection.
The running community really is everywhere…