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A View from the Top
I am That Runner

Gordon Cherr, October 30, 2017

I Am That Runner

I am that runner you see every morning on your drive to work. Or on your way home.

I am that runner you see rain or shine, hot or cold, winter, summer, autumn, springtime.

I am that runner who was away for a long time, whom you stopped one day on your morning drive, asking, "Hey, where have you been?" I thank you for that.

I am that runner in the crosswalk who you waved across with your eye contact, and then who you bumped out of the way with your SUV because you were in a hurry and saw an opening in traffic.

I am that runner you inadvertently bumped while I was in the pedestrian crosswalk of the service road, and who tried to punch you through the window, but missed. Sorry.

I am that runner on the golf course you screamed at because you had to wait 30 more seconds to take your shot.

I am that runner who is also out on that golf course before dawn, and if the mood strikes, after midnight. Or anytime.

I am the runner who saw the small child being accosted by a driver after being let off the school bus, who then sprinted up and asked, "Is everything OK?", and it turned out that you were his mother, and you said "Thank you for doing that" to me, and we laughed gratefully, together. 

I am that runner, who with his buddies in high school, spontaneously stopped at any road or trail they saw anywhere, and ran it, to feel the pull of gravity and for the adventure of the unknown.

I am that runner running at high noon in the summer, or post holing through the snow or ice of Boston or the Blue Ridge or the Ramapo Mountains, in Ann Arbor, or running in Taos or Santa Fe, Norfolk or Jacksonville, or Yosemite, Mt. Mitchell, Boulder or San Francisco, Miami, or Tuscan, or Sarasota or Cancun or...

I am that runner trying to get in a run before the hurricane gets here but enjoying the wind and rain, and then running afterwards in awe of the storm and Mother Nature.

I am that runner breathing that cool fresh air in the forest this very morning.

I am that runner who ran behind fume belching public service buses in New Jersey, imagining that was kind of like altitude training for lack of oxygen. But not so.

I am that runner who wants to know when the murderer of friend and runner Paul Hoover will be brought to justice. I will not rest.

I am that runner who runs the Atlantic beach for miles on end, or St. George Island or Cape San Blas, who ran the salt marshes in Louisiana, the huge sand dunes of Scituate in Massachusetts, the coastal dunes of Big Sur, the quiet roads along the beach of Cape Cod, and the Atlantic City boardwalk in the dead of winter.

I am that runner who got to run with his children as they grew up. And still do even as adults. And his sweet wife. Or pushed a carriage with grandchildren while running up hill, phew.

I am that runner who will "discuss" politics or religion or just about anything with anyone when we run, but when we are done we are still friends and will look forward to running together again.

I am that runner who moves dead animals off the road because it is disrespectful to leave them there, except for armadillo.

I am that runner who likes to run in congested urban areas just to see what other people plant in their front yards.

I am that runner who has been chased by dogs and bear, a bull, and even a horse once, and saw a panther cross the road nearby, but he and I did not run together.

I am that runner who took that woman to the hospital emergency room when she got heat stroke and didn't want any help, but some of us knew better.

I am that runner who has run through the birth of children, the passing of loved ones, good jobs, bad jobs, no jobs, and whatever else life throws this way. Past wedding ceremonies, funeral processions, demonstrations, parades, blizzards and heat waves, flood and drought, light and dark, moonlight, sunlight, and meteor showers, an eclipse or two, and the list is endless I hope. But it isn't.

I am that runner.

So are you.