“To walk across a place is to truly know a place.”– Rickey Gates #
Last year I was inspired by Rickey Gates’ “Every Single Street” project, where the ultrarunner set out to run all of the 1170km (1100 miles) of street in San Fransisco. No big deal, right?
Here’s the documentary that was produced about his project:
Beyond the obvious physical challenge (Rickey completed the challenge in 40 long days and nights), I was inspired by running as a medium for exploring a place.
I’ve often used running as a means for escape. To clear my head, or get out and explore some trails or unknown places. But what about my more familiar surroundings, my own town? Was this, Steinbach, Manitoba, a place that could be explored?
As Rickey Gates used his project to explore the “human hive” that was his city, I’ve tried to use my daily runs to explore my town.
“I mean how can you look at that and not be a little bit curious?”– Rickey Gates
My feet made that
On March 13, 2020, I completed running every single street (and walking path, but more on that later) in Steinbach, MB. Far from an epic 40 days, this map got filled in over the course of nearly 3 years (since I joined Strava in June 2017).
I actually had resisted making this an official Project, but after letting CityStrides.com compile and display my running data on one big map a couple months ago, I realized that I was “close” to completing every street. I dedicated the following weeks of morning runs to circling through neglected cul-de-sacs and running to the sprawling edges of town to complete the map.
Here it is!
(You’ll notice, I didn’t do this project very efficiently, having scribbled like a careless child all over places like the soccer park on the west side of town.)
Any big takeaways?
If you’re like me, your hometown, to you, is mostly boring. But this project forced me to discover all the little nooks and crannies that I’d maybe run or driven past for years, but had never actually set foot on. One morning, as I turned around in a dead-end residential street not more than 1km from my house, I remember thinking, “I have never seen the houses on the street before!” We’d nearly been neighbours for nearly all of my life, but their little street had, until that day, been completely unexplored.
Running to the edges of town, I also realized how quickly Steinbach is growing. There are so many ragged edges, unfinished residential streets that will someday soon connect. Many streets are occupied by half-built houses and construction crews. Soon we’ll be those old cranks who talk about the good old days when “this neighbourhood was just a field…”
I hope you take the opportunity to find adventures in your own backyard, you might be surprised at what you discover!