Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Running Into--and With--Old Friends

Courtesy New York Road Runners

Last night, I set out for an easy run at my old striding grounds at McCarren Park and I decided to represent the home team by wearing my North Brooklyn singlet. As usual, I started by cruising past the track to see if there was anyone I knew.

Not surprisingly, Coach Kiki was in the house, with a very full training class and that made me very happy. I was even more pleased to find a huge group of runners milling about the starting line, and they turned out to be my old buddies, the North Brooklyn Runners, along with some guests from the Dashing Whippets. They were about to start a track session and I was glad to join in.

McCarren Park has a beautiful track but almost always full of human obstacles—adults, children, soccer balls, bikes, strollers, and the like. Nevertheless, it was a quality workout and much, much better for the company. They had runners of all abilities and many, many interesting people to talk to.

Even though I live in Charlottesville, North Brooklyn is still my team for the time being and it was very amusing to explain my arrangement over and over during the recovery jogs.

Runner: “So you live in North Carolina?”

Me: “No: Virginia.”

Runner: “But you’re wearing the shirt.”

Me: “Well, I still live here part time. I used to live in the ‘burg but I still work for Road Runners so I’m back in the neighborhood on the regular.”

Runner: “I remember you: welcome back.”

Without fail, they all said that last part. I could not imagine a more friendly group and it really made my day to happen upon them.

The fellowship got even better when the group went to the Turkey’s Nest to rehydrate with huge beers served in Styrofoam cups. They can all run but some of them are dangerous pool players as well.

Running into friends is one of the very best things about the City. It can be a very lonely place but company often materializes in surprising ways, refreshing like a desert oasis. Those human interactions are a big, big deal for me.

It was an unexpected way to spend the evening: spontaneous and fun, and very healthy. What could be better?

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