Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Happy Trails to you

I went for a run Saturday morning like I have so many times.

I ran in through some of my favorite neighborhoods and parks, Bonnie Brae, Washington Park, Cheesman Park.

As I headed back, I could hear sirens and for some reason I felt uneasy.  I don't know why.  I hear sirens quite frequently when I am out running.

As I turned west towards Downing, a police car with lights on zoomed passed me and the officer stopped his car and turned it sideways, jumped out and immediately began diverting traffic to a side street.

I could see a firetruck and a group of runners stopped at the intersection on the other side of the light.  One runner looked like she was explaining what she had seen.  A witness an accident.

There was nothing for me to do, no reason to linger.  The first responders were present to give aid.  I ran on.

I found out yesterday that a runner(Mike Fontes) had been killed while crossing Speer Boulevard. I have crossed this street many times when I have been running.  It could have been me, it could have been anyone.   I do not know the circumstances of this tragic accident.  Initial reports are that the runner may have ignored a red light.

I did not know the runner that was killed, but as a member of the running community, I grieve for Mike, for his family and friends.

Mike's running coach posted on Facebook how he was struggling, trying to make sense of what had happened.  He sought refuge in his running, wanting to feel the connection to the earth beneath his feet, to hear his breath, to cry if he needed to.

I know exactly what he was doing.  I remember going for run the day Kelly died, the day my wife's mother died.

Seeking comfort, refuge from loss and pain, crying as I ran, hearing the sound of my foot striking on the road.

I finished my run and got in my car to come home to my family, to my life.  Mike didn't get to do that.

I ran this morning and pondered what had happened.  As I ran this morning, I took extra care as I crossed the streets.  If a car was even close to me this morning, I stopped and waited.  What difference would adding a few seconds or even a minute make in my run if I have to wait?  Well, maybe the difference is my life.

As a runner it is incumbent on us to be cautious, to create as much safety as we can for ourselves.  We need to make eye contact with the people that are driving in their cars.  Make sure they have seen us and they are aware that we are there.  Stop and smile, acknowledge the people who slow down for us and let us  safely cross the streets where we run. 

If you with a group of people, run no more than two across, alert the other people in the group if you see or hear a car.  Yell, "Car up", "Car Back."  It takes a second and it could save a life. 

Don't run on the streets with headphones.  Ever.  Save that for the treadmill.  

There is too much to see and listen for outside.  Commune with nature and it's surroundings.  Be mindful.  Headphone's don't create intention.  Leave them in the car, save that for the gym. 

Happy trails to you Mike. Run on. 

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