Corridaamiga Founder Silvia Cruz on Brazil’s “Friendly Running” Initiative

We’re very excited to introduce you to Sylvia Cruz, an inspiring run commuter and passionate active transportation advocate from São Paulo, Brazil. The 29-year-old environmental manager only began running three years ago, but it had a major impact on how she sees the cityand interacts with others around her. Further, it inspired her to educate and encourage others to join the ranks of those who not only run, but run as a form of urban mobility.

She started Corridaamiga, or “running friends,” as a way to connect experienced run commuters with those interested in using running to get around the city, with the overall goal of promoting active transportation throughout the country. We asked her about Corridaamiga, about running in France, Brazil, and South America, and how she got started. We hope what she is doing in Brazil can be replicated by run commuters in other cities around the world!  

About Sylvia Cruz

How long have you been run commuting?

I’ve been running since 2011, and started run commuting in 2012.

After your first run commute, how did you feel?

Free, strong, and even smarter!

Corridaamiga founder Sylvia Cruz.
(Sign reads “Respect: One Less Car”)

What other forms of transportation do you use to get around São Paulo?

If I am not running, I ride a bike.  Sometimes, I need to take a bus or the subway, and less frequently, I take a cab.

In your video, you mention using running as a form of transportation while living in France – were there certain things that made running for transportation easier or harder in France compared to São Paulo?   

In France, they have good quality pavements, the public places are cleaner, and the air is less polluted than São Paulo. This is obvious if we compare the urban statistics between Lille (France) and São Paulo (an unfair comparison). In São Paulo, and in Brazil in general, people are afraid to walk or run for several reasons.

First, we have a “syndrome” of insecurity. I know that we have high level of violence, etc., but I think that part of this “panic” arises from our television/newspaper that reinforces this issue too much. And, I am sorry, but according to the statistics, if you are in a car, you are not safer than me!

Second, our pavements are not of good quality, which makes it difficult – if not impossible – to safely run commute. Our public places are underutilized and badly-designed, not favoring conviviality and social interactions. We need to improve our city planning; after all, we all want to live in a better city.

Run Commuting in Brazil

What is the state of run commuting in Brazil?

In Brazil, most of the initiatives that involve running are not related to urban mobility, but rather with running as a sport. For instance, most of big companies are used to providing running instructors as an employee benefit. Still it does not work exactly like run commuting. As far as we know, Corridaamiga is officially the first run commuting initiative in Brazil.

On the other hand, initiatives for other kinds of active commuting – such as Bike Anjo – are steadily increasing in all 5 regions and different states of Brazil. I believe this reflects a time of people power, i.e., a time where most of the more important solutions for megacity problems are being done by ordinary citizens, who utilize individual willpower and personal initiative to make something change, rather than waiting for the government to do something about it. An integration of all these solutions – individual and institutional – will give us a better scenario in the future.

How many run commuters do you know of in your city?  

We don’t have this number for the city of São Paulo. Since we started the network 4 months ago, we have had 48 volunteer runners (run commuters), and 54 people that requested Corridaamiga to help in their first routes, showing the best ways and sharing instructions and information about how to run in the streets.

What factors make run commuting appealing to you or others in your city? For instance, is automobile traffic terrible, or public transportation overcrowded?

Although Corridaamiga aims to have volunteers registered all over Brazil, it is based in São Paulo. São Paulo is known for its intense traffic, the incredible use of automobiles (people even use it for going to the bakery and we have bakeries in every corner of the city), and overcrowded, expensive, and inefficient public transportation. Because of this, different initiatives of different natures have come along over the last decade, aiming to be innovative solutions. Mobility is not the only focus – it is also about designing cities for people.

There are days in São Paulo where the traffic jams exceed 300 kilometers. Also, 4,000 people die annually due to problems caused by air pollution. The city already has more than 7 million vehicles circulating and Brazilians’ weight has been increasing in the last years.

50.1% of men and 48% of women are overweight. We have seen a lot of initiatives in São Paulo that are geared towards increasing quality of life, while improving the individual mobility. Among these are Corridaamiga, Bike Anjo, Cidade Ativa, Colab.Re, SampaPé, Cidadera, Mobilize, Hortelões Urbanos and all of them talk about empowering people to bring innovative solutions for creating a city designed for people.

They are definitely essential, but the overall solution will come about as a result of discussions and collaboration between civil society and the public and private sector. This is what happened during the First Brazilian Run to Work Day (inspired by the Run2work day in UK): we invited people to take pictures of sidewalks in terrible conditions, so we could deliver this information to the governmental organizations responsible for fixing them, because broken, deteriorated sidewalks are also a mobility problem.

To the best of your knowledge, which cities in Brazil have the most run commuters? In South America?

I don’t know of other initiatives, but in the “Corridaamiga” network, most of the run commuters are from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Curitiba. In South America, I really don’t know.

corridaamiga_onde estamos

Requests for Corridaamigas and volunteer submissions have been coming in from all across Brazil over the past 4 months

Do employers or government programs provide incentives for employees who use alternative transportation, such as bicycling or walking, to commute to work?

In Brazil, some employers already stimulate the use of alternative transportation. Nevertheless, companies are usually only reactive (as opposed to proactive) and afraid of incentivizing people to use alternative – and possibly unsafe – modals.

I’ll give a successful example: Riding a bike is seen as a really dangerous way of transportation in the city. However, given the context and great effort of bicycle activists, more and more people are riding their bikes to work. This is creating structural changes within companies, and sometimes the advocates even consult the employers on policies that could improve and make their life more comfortable. Some companies even try to increase the number of people who ride bikes through programs that teach cycling safety techniques. Even so, neither the government nor the private sector has made notable policies, such as tax-free incentives for alternative transportation that have been extremely successful in other countries. On the contrary, buying a car is getting even easier and cheaper in Brazil.

Corridaamiga

Why did you start Corridaamiga?

I started Corridaamiga because I wish more people would discover other transportation alternatives. I want to show them that it is possible to change their lives. We do not need to suffer stuck in the traffic, suffer for the lack of time to exercise, or lack of time to be with our friends and family.

In 2013, I did an interchange program in Lille, France. While there, I used to run as a way of moving around the city and benefited a lot from it. I got to know places and people, and saved a lot of money on subway tickets. It also helped to fight loneliness. I was thinking how I could make more people feel the same way I felt when I used running as a way of getting around.

Inspired by Bike Anjo (a volunteer group of urban cyclists that assists people who wish to learn to ride a bicycle in their city), the idea of “Corridaamiga” emerged, with the intention of helping and inspiring runners who want to use running as a means of transportation. In short, Corridaamiga is a voluntary initiative that emerged in early 2014, as a result of the idea of “Brazilian run commuters” that aims to assist and inspire individuals to use running for urban mobility.

It stimulates a low-CO2 form of transportation, as well, which is also responsible for increasing people’s quality life, therefore making people happier. While running, the person has a totally different and (we believe) more pleasurable experience in the city. It is healthier, too. It is worth saying that Brazilians are getting fatter and more sedentary. Thus, our main purpose is to act as multiplying agents; spreading the practice of running as urban mobility, and passing on the complementary benefits (time optimization, reducing costs, improving quality of life, etc.) to other citizens.

How has the running community reacted to your initiative?

So far they have been very positive and curious about the initiative. It has been only several months since we started the network and already more than 3 magazines related to the sport and other organizations related to urban mobility have contacted us to promote the initiative.

What is the general background of the expert runners that pair up with beginner runners? Are they mainly current run commuters? Professional running coaches? Weekly group run leaders?

I got it!! In one hour I did the route from work to my home! It is great for self-esteem! That’s amazing! While I was running, all cars stuck in the traffic … I felt very smart, too. Thanks Corridaamiga! – Larissa Tega

Right now, the runners are not professional running coaches. Our volunteers are common people that run and decided to help other people. In order to guarantee the best running habits possible, Corridaamiga is in contact with a nutritionist and some coaches that give weekly tips, voluntarily, for our website and Facebook page. In addition to general health tips, we also give tips about how to run to work, what to carry on our bags, which bags are appropriate for runners to use, and even the best routes for the runner.

Where do you see CorridaAmiga in 5 years? What does it look like? What does your city and/or country look like?

I always wanted to learn how to run on the streets! This is totally crazy (for me) because the route work-home has 7.5 km. During the trip many thoughts came to my mind “oh my Gosh, [it] is still far away from home”, “should I have started with a shorter distance?”, “I need to breathe calmer and slower”, etc… Finally 7.5 km and 1h05m after, the challenge was completed. And I’m very proud of myself – Naomi Kawasaki

Around the world, we have seen a tendency to use running, walking, and cycling as a means of transportation, due in no small part to the large waste of time in the journey, increased personal risks, and detrimental health effects caused by the use of individual motorized transportation in big cities. Experts worldwide are beginning to discuss and recognize the role of “active transportation” as a healthy alternative to a sedentary lifestyle and its ability to improve the quality of life of the population.

Therefore, it is essential to expand the “Corridaamiga” network, so that more and more runners are willing to use running as urban mobility. In Brazil, this activity is still in the embryonic stage, so it is vital to encourage and spread the idea of run commuting, as well as recognize and minimize the barriers that still hinder running as a viable and healthy choice of transportation for all individuals.

Q&A with UK’s #run2workday Founder Gordon Lott

If you are from London, you may have recently noticed a significant increase in media coverage related to run commuting. And, if you dig through the deluge of television stars and top athletes touting their love and support of running to work in the London Evening Standard and elsewhere, you’ll find one man behind it all.

The founder of #run2workday (June 5th, 2014) and health advocate behind a tax-free running gear petition in the UK, Gordon Lott, 40, believes people should ditch the Tube and instead turn to run commuting to help maintain their fitness and ease overcrowding on London’s transit system. And, he’s not alone. The Mayor of London has gone all-in on the idea…

We asked Gordon about his beginnings, his vision for #run2workday, and what the future holds for cities and politicians that support running to work as a regular commute option.

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Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background? Are you a runner?

I’ve always loved ball sports and I only got in to running when I decided to do a triathlon 6 years ago as a new goal for myself to get fit. I now do two or three Triathlons a year to help keep the weight off – I weigh 95kgs, so I’m not naturally built for running; I drink too much, I’ve smoked; I love chocolate and food, so running is a necessity for me to stay fit and keep the weight off, and I love the feeling of achievement having been on a run.

How did the idea for #run2workday and the tax petition originate?

I felt running needed a campaign to attract more people to it – not just those already predisposed to running.  There are lots of 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and great events like Tough Mudder and triathlons, but too often these events speak to people who are already fit and running. What we haven’t done well is engage people who don’t naturally consider running or jogging, however far, to be active and healthy.   Many, like me don’t ‘love’ running and probably never will, but I certainly enjoy the sense of achievement when I do it, and running to work, even just two or three times a week, is an easy way of keeping fit within your daily routine and can save people a lot of travel money. 

Our mission is to help get 1 million more people running at least once a week by 2020 (currently it stands at 2 million, so its a 50% increase).

So I set up www.run2work.com as the first dedicated hub to helping people run to work in the UK.  The Route Planner shows you the quickest and shortest route to take, and you can set up run2work Groups with people at home or work who will keep you motivated. #run2workday is an idea to help people try running to work, and with our Partners including the Evening Standard, Virgin Active, and Amazon Audible, we’re giving people information and incentives to do so.  

However #run2workday isn’t a long term, sustainable solution.  To create real change, we need to provide more information, the right kit (such as ruck sacks to carry laptops), and environment (such as more showers at work), and incentivise people.  That’s why we’ve launched the petition for the cost of running to work to be tax-free which could save people over £100 a year.  The long term savings to the National Health Service and Transport system far outweigh the tiny reduction in tax income.  In the UK, Cycling to Work is already tax-free – you purchase a bike and equipment through an employer’s scheme before tax on your salary is deducted.  Over 500,000 have signed up to one of these schemes, which is 65% of all people who cycle to work, so it has clearly worked and cycling as a sport is experiencing fantastic growth. 

Why did you choose Thursday, June 5, 2014 for #run2workday?

Thursday 5 June is the first #run2workday – we’re holding them throughout the summer on the first Thursday of each month, so we help people make it a habit and not a one off. They all fall between a number of running and mass participation events, so we hope people can use Running to Work as a way to train and stay fit.

Is #run2workday mainly for the people of London and the surrounding area or is it open to runners from around the world?

The offers people get for taking part in #run2workday are just for the UK, however people all over the world are taking part in #run2workday which is great – the more the merrier!

How did the mayor of London become involved with this project?

One of the Mayor of London’s biggest priorities is to reduce overcrowding on London’s Tube Network – he wants fewer people to use it because there is only finite capacity, so for him and TfL (Transport for London), more people running to work can help them achieve this objective.

run2work logo 300 x 250Do you think participation by the mayor and star athletes will increase public buy-in?

We certainly hope so, and we also hope David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, will also take part – he regularly runs in London’s Parks, so maybe he could run to the Houses of Commons or another meeting.

Cycling to work typically faces a social barrier: drivers vs. bikers, and who owns the roads; however, run commuting’s bane is usually that, unless one’s workplace touts showers, people see it as unhygienic. Do you think that will be a significant barrier to run2work?

I don’t see a lack of showers being any more of an issue for running to work than it is for cycling to work. Yes, there are some people who cycle only a short distance and don’t need a shower, but many who do cycle in need a shower, so the shower facilities issue is really important for everyone who wants to get fit running or cycling to work. As well as tax-free running kit, we also believe the government needs to regulate or incentivize builders to put more shower facilities in any new-build or redevelopment project.

The Route Planner is fantastic! Do you see any future applications for it beyond #run2workday?

Absolutely – we want to do much more with it, such as create printable versions, expand the map size, and show alternative routes. We also hope to create an app once we get additional funding.

What would it take for you to consider this scheme a success: several dozen who participate the one day, as something of a novelty or one-off; or conversion of some commuters to dedicated run commuters, from their other modes?

In the long term, success will be when more people than don’t say that running to work is an easy way to commute and stay fit, whether part or all the way, and however regularly they run.

Great question! In the short-term, we’re hoping 10,000 people will join in #run2workday over the summer 2014 – we have just shy of 1,000 already signed up in just three weeks since launch, so we’re on track. Making running to work tax-free, incentivizing more showers, helping people set up run2work groups and other initiatives such as these will helps us achieve this ambition.

For more about #run2workday visit their website and join the run2work Facebook Group.

By | 2016-12-24T10:30:09+00:00 May 15th, 2014|Categories: General, News|Tags: , , , , , |1 Comment

The New Run Commuters – April 2014

In this month’s TNRC feature, we profile M. Suzette from Atlanta, GA, and Presh from Washington D.C. Loving the city life and rich history of D.C., Presh talks about packing light and that familiar, sinking feeling of being passed by a runner while sitting in traffic. M. Suzette, a nurse at a children’s hospital here in Atlanta, talks about choosing run commuting over the lure of wine and long shuttle bus rides. She is also TRC’s newest contributor, so stay tuned for more on M. Suzette and her tips, tricks, and stories about running to work!

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Runner Basics

  • Name: M. Suzette Birdling
    New Run Commuter M. Suzette - Before and After

    New Run Commuter M. Suzette – Before and After

  • Age: 35
  • City/State: Atlanta, GA
  • Profession/Employer: Registered nurse at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
  • Number of years running: 5
  • # of races you participate in a year: I pay for 1 or 2 (Peachtree and one other), but I race myself every time I go out.
  • Do you prefer road or trail? I have to have a preference? I love them both! Sometimes I want to feel like a wild animal running and jumping over obstacles through the woods, and sometimes I prefer the urban wilderness, dodging cars and navigating uneven pavement.

Run Commuting Gear

M. Suzette's backpack contents

M. Suzette’s backpack contents

  • Backpack: Camelbak Mule without the bladder. 
  • Shoes: I alternate between a pair of Saucony Ride 5 and Brooks Ravenna 4
  • Clothing: Shorts, tech fabric shirt, knee socks and a lightweight pullover if it’s below 30 degrees, shorties and no pullover if it’s warmer. Occasionally if the weather is different than I anticipated, I will run home in all or part of my uniform.
  • Outerwear: I wear a Nike Run pullover hoodie for warmth. It has lots of reflective patches which is a bonus. I’ve been lucky and not had rain any day that I planned to run commute, so I actually don’t have any rain gear. I’m not sure yet how I’ll handle rain.
  • Headgear: None. I fix my hair before I leave home, and headgear would mess it up! 
  • Lights: Err, none. I have reflective things on my pack and shorts and shoes though.
  • Hydration: It’s only 2.7 miles, I just drink when I get there.

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

A couple of months ago CHOA moved a lot of our parking over to Emory. We then take a shuttle bus to the hospital. It took my 2.7 mile/ 15 min car commute to over 35 minutes. I thought about riding my bike, but then I saw The Run Commuter website and knew I’d found a great solution to multiple problems. I am a single mother and I work long shifts. Most of my runs are while the kids are at school. And after getting up at the crack, working a 12+ hour shift on my feet all day, I know that if I go home to change for a run, I am going to pour myself a glass of wine instead and hope for more energy tomorrow.  Even though my commute isn’t very far, it takes less time to run there than to drive, and I am getting in some exercise on days when I otherwise wouldn’t. Plus, I’m finding it’s incredibly cathartic to change out of my scrubs, lace up my shoes and just run away after a particularly stressful day.

How often do you run commute?

2-3 days a week. I work 12-hr shifts and tend to work them all in a row. I drive in on the first day with a few changes of scrubs, running clothes and shoes, Luna and Lara bars, some fruit like oranges or apples, and all my cleaning-up stuff. I leave it all in my locker until the last shift of the week when I drive home with all the dirty laundry.

How far is your commute?

Arriving at the office

Arriving at the office

It’s 2.7 miles by the shortest route; somehow it feels all uphill both ways. I don’t really try to go fast on the way to work. I don’t want to be a sweat ball when I get there. I have very enthusiastic sweat glands.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I do both. I also bring my breakfast. Usually a pita sandwich of some kind, a piece of fruit and an Illy coffee drink (or 2) in a can.

What do you like most about run commuting?

I like the feeling that I have accomplished at least one good thing for myself in a day. When I get to work, everyone else is still sleepy and grumpy, but I’m sweaty and smiling. My face is bright, and I am awake! 

 

Drying clothes at work

Drying clothes at work

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

Nope, no one. I often run past a gentleman (going the opposite direction) who looks like he might be run-commuting. We just do the “Hey, Other Runner! God that hill sucks. No way, I’m not out of breath…” two-finger wave across Briarcliff Rd though. And the way the hospital greeters look at me when I walk in, like I’ve just stepped off a spaceship, suggests that not a lot of other people run commute there.

 When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

I just drive, park with the rest of the red-headed stepchildren, and ride das Bus.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

Once you get yourself organized, it’s easier than you think. You’re not going to stink, and no one cares if your hair is perfect anyway. 

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 Runner Basics

  • Name: Presh (“Precious”)
Presh ready to run

New Run Commuter Presh

  • Age:  31
  • City/State: Washington, D.C.
  • Profession/Employer:  Regulatory Affairs, Georgetown University Medical Center
  • Number of years running:  8 years on and off
  • # of races you participate in a year: 0
  • Do you prefer road or trail?  I find road running the most stimulating.  I’ve given trails a shot, but I’m energized by the city, and people walking, riding bikes, shopping, etc.
  • Run Commuting Gear

    • Backpack: I converted a spacious Targus laptop bag with a snug chest belt.  Winter was brutal, so the bag made it tons easier to carry clothes, my coat and lunch in separate compartments.  To keep the load light, I keep a few pairs of pumps at the office.  For summer, I plan to upgrade to an Osprey.
    • Shoes: Champion Lattice runner
    • Clothing: Random long- and short-sleeve shirts, and my fave Aspire running tights.  Overall, I keep it pretty simple.
    • Outerwear: A light wool sweater to wick sweat, since I tend to warm up rather quickly.
    • Headgear: 180s fleece ear warmers on really cold days; otherwise nothing.
    • Lights: None
    • Hydration: None

    On Run Commuting

    Logan Circle in the morning

    Logan Circle in the morning

    Why did you decide to start run commuting?   

    Last fall, I started running to work for a handful of reasons.  Using public transit, I might spend two hours round-trip just sitting, which is awful.  Add to that anxiety from the heavy AM and PM rush and delays caused by bad driving and motorcades. Lastly, it made sense to integrate my workout into the early part of my day, instead of wasting more time at the gym later.

    How often do you run commute?

    So far, four times a week, but eventually I’d like to run all morning and evening commutes.

    How far is your commute?

    The total distance from home to the office is 6.5 miles, but I run 3.6 miles from home to Georgetown’s shuttle stop in Dupont Circle in the morning, or vice versa in the evening.  

    Do you pack or buy a lunch?

    I pack – helps me save cash and eat a lot healthier.  On non-running days, I replenish my office calorie stash with staples like oatmeal, fruit and nuts.

    What do you like most about run commuting?

    Freedom to enjoy the beauty of Washington, DC at a leisurely pace!  The city has so many architectural jewels off the beaten path of the Mall; it’s hard not to drool during my runs.  Also, every run is a mid-week victory, even when I finish feeling battered by the day.  Not only am I clearing four 5Ks a week but do so with almost zero emissions compared to driving.  And since exercise is built into my day, I no longer have the luxury of finding excuses not to workout.

    Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

    Dupont - Autumn

    Dupont – Autumn

    No, but here and there I spot a few other run commuters along my route, which is always encouraging.

    When not run commuting, how do you get to work? 

    As an urban dweller, I prefer to leave the car (and the road rage) parked at home, so I take Metrobus.  Unfortunately, the hour-long haul makes me a bit stir crazy.  Every time a runner zooms past the bus, I inwardly cringe and wish I’d brought my running shoes and backpack.

    If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

    If you’re on the fence, just go for it.  The distance between home and work is probably feasible, so it’s worth it to run, especially if you’re constantly getting stuck in traffic and then park yourself at a desk all day.  Plus, all your friends will envy your strong legs, and you’ll also feel awesome when your doctor applauds you for a low resting heart rate.

    Anything else that you would like to include?

    Protect your back and hips: invest in a good backpack and pack light!

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    Are you interested in being featured in an upcoming The New Run Commuters feature? If so, please let us know by filling out the form below.

    (Note: “New” can be anywhere from a week to a year.)

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    By | 2016-10-22T20:26:41+00:00 April 17th, 2014|Categories: General, News, People|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

    The New Run Commuters – February 2014, Part 1

    After a fantastic response to January’s The New Run Commuters post, we’re back with one of two TNRC features this month. In our first, we introduce you to Chris and Tarun, two runners from different parts of the world, united not only by run commuting, but by teaching as well.

    Chris, an ultramarathoner, uses running for more than just run commuting – he runs errands and picks up his daughter after school in a jogging stroller; while Tarun, takes  a more laid-back approach to running and wisely suggests easing your way into running to work to give yourself time to figure out the logistics of it all.

    As always, if you are interested in being featured in an upcoming TNRC post, please submit the form at the end of this post. Thanks to everyone who has contacted us so far! It’s great hearing all of your stories and your approach to run commuting and life!

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    Runner Basics

    • Name: Chris Van Dykethe run commuter, run commuting, running to work, new run commuter, running to get places, osprey stratos 24, chris van dyke
    • Age: 35
    • City/State: Brooklyn, NY
    • Profession/Employer: High School English Teacher, New York City Department of Education
    • Number of years running: 7 ½
    • # of races you participate in a year: I used to race all the time – the first year I qualified for the NYC Marathon in 2008, I ran thirteen races.  Since having kids, not many.  I always try to do the Bed-Stuy 10K, since it’s the only road race held in my neighborhood, and I like that it’s small and local and in a neighborhood most people don’t think of when they think of running.  The few races I do tend to be really long – this year it was a 24-hour ultra, last year a 50K trail run and a marathon.
    • Do you prefer road or trail (and a little about why)?  Despite the current “correct” answer being trails, I have to say I love both.  Being in Brooklyn, I really wish I could get out and run more trails, but I honestly love running in the city.  I love discovering new neighborhoods or new routes to the same locations, and try to approach any of the “disadvantages” of road-running as opportunities in disguise: hurtling a pile of garbage blocking the side-walk adds a bit of flair to one’s run.

    Run Commuting Gear

    • Backpack: Osprey Stratus 24.  Super light-weight but massive capacity.  Lots of straps to keep things locked down, very roomy waist-pack pockets, and comes with a rain-cover.
    • Shoes: Mostly ultra-minimal, always zero-drop.  When the weather is warm, I wear Unshoe’s Pah Tempe sandals.  When shoes are required, I rotate between Merrell Roadgloves and Altra’s The One.  For trails or bad weather, Altra Lone Peaks
    • Clothing:  Until its freezing, shorts (Target brand) and either singlets or technical T’s, mostly just one’s I’ve gotten at races.  Basically I try to wear as little as possible whatever the weather, and push what most people think is reasonable to an extreme.  I’m used to people yelling, “Aren’t you cold?” as I pass.
    • Outerwear: When it drops into the 30’s or lower, I have a pair of CW-X tights and a Craft jacket I dropped some real cash on over five years ago and they’ve held up great.  I also have a crushable Sierra rain fly that I can toss in my pack if it looks like rain, and a pair of North Face water-proof pants.  For extreme winter weather, I’ve got a balaclava and facemask, a few pairs of layering gloves, and Yak Tracks for my shoes.  It’s all about layers; one of the advantages of running with a pack is you have somewhere to stash clothes if you get too hot, or keep a raincoat just in case.
    • Headgear: Normally just a visor.  Running hat in the autumn; skully when its freezing. 
    • Lights:  The streets of Brooklyn are pretty well-lit any time of day, so I don’t really use lights.  I do have a Black-Diamond head-lamp and a few clip-on flashing lights in my bag just in case.
    • Hydration:  Typically nothing, as my commute isn’t that long.  If I’m going longer, I’m a fan of hand-helds.  I have a 20oz Amphipod and an Ultimate Direction Quickdraw.  Mostly that’s for long weekend runs, not commuting.

    On Run Commuting

    Why did you decide to start run commuting?

    I’ve been running for years, and it’s my favorite way to get around New York.   Once my kids were born it got harder and harder to find time to fit in runs, and at the same time I started teaching at a new school that was less than 3 miles from my apartment.  My school is in East Flatbush, which is nowhere near a subway line, so my only public transportation option is bus, which I hate: buses are crowded, slow, and you can waste so much time just waiting for them.   At first I biked to work and would run once in a while, but after my bike was stolen, I took it as an opportunity to step up my run commute.

    How often do you run commute?

    Five days a week, to and from work.  I’ve run both ways every day since the school year started, with only two exceptions.  I took off the Friday before a 24-hour ultra, and I got a ride after work to the staff Holiday party.  Other than that, I’ve run every day.

    How far is your commute?

    2.5 miles each way, so 5 miles total.  Sometimes longer if I have errands to run – if I have to stop by the post-office, grocery store, or pick up my daughter at school, it can add up to 2 miles to the trip home.

    Do you pack or buy a lunch?

    Pack.  I actually make myself a massive salad every day for lunch.  I have a mini-fridge at work, and I run in supplies a few times a week.  Fridays I run my salad bowl, knife, utensils, and cutting board home to run them through the dishwasher, then run them in with lots of veggies on Monday.  Any day of the week my pack might have home-made baked tofu, garbanzo beans, a couple of avocados, spinach, carrots, or bags of brewer’s yeast.   I amuse my students by pulling just about anything out of by bag.

    the run commuter, run commuting, running to work, new run commuter, running to get places, osprey stratos 24, chris van dyke, running with groceries

    Chris runs his lunch supplies in to work every week.

    What do you like most about run commuting?

    What’s not to like?  I get to fit in a run every day and avoid a bus or car commute – it’s like finding free time in your day!  How often can you straight up trade something you hate for something you love?  I love starting the day with exercise, and ending work with some stress-relief.  And once I’m at work, it forces me to get in the run home and gets past excuses and lazy days.  Every so often I don’t want to run home but don’t have any choice, then end up loving my run. 

    My absolute favorite part, however, is the small group of “friends” I’ve made over the last year along my route, strangers I see every few days who wave and say hi, since I’m the only person running in East Flatbush in the morning.  There’s a woman at one of the housing projects who calls me “sexy legs” whenever she sees me, and that always shaves a few minutes off my time.  Last week some guy stopped me to say I’d inspired him to start running again.  Then there’s a mom who walks her two sons to school in the morning, and I pass them almost every day.  We always say hi, and this year we exchanged Christmas cards.  It reminds me that Brooklyn isn’t so much one big city as a whole lot of small towns just crammed together.

    Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?  

    No.  I’ve got a number of co-workers who bike, but I’m the only one who runs.  I’m pretty much the only person I see running in this part of Brooklyn ever. 

    When not run commuting, how do you get to work?  

    My school is a mile from the subway, so it would have to be the bus, as I don’t own a car.  The bus I’d take, the B47, takes me, on average, 45 minutes.  I can run my commute in 25 minutes if I’m lazy, sub-20 if I’m pushing myself.  If I wasn’t running I’d bike, but frankly I prefer running.  Much more relaxing, and a lot less maintenance. Basically, I don’t think of there as being options – I run, period.  I run in the snow, in the rain, in the dark.  I ran during the polar vortex in negative 15.  If there’s going to be severe weather or I have to take in books or clothes, I don’t think “How am I going to get to work?” I think “How am I going to do this while running?”  With the right gear and a bit of stubbornness, anything is runnable.

    If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be? 

    Just do it – the logistics really are a lot less daunting that you think.  Once you have a few work outfits at the office (and a can of body spray!) you’re set on that end.  A good pack is really the only essential “specialty” gear, and since you’ll spend a lot of time with it, try it on and spend enough to get something comfortable that suits your needs.  But you’d be surprised that, with a little planning a head, how little you actually need to get you to work.  I’m lucky, in that I’ve got an easy distance to do round-trip, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  Run to the commuter train or bus stop; get a ride and run the last 5 miles.  Break the route into a runnable chunk and then do it.  I’m also a huge fan of pod-casts when I run.  At some point, your run does just become a commute, some distance you have to cover to get to work or to get home.  I try to find enjoyment in every run, but sometimes, when its dark and cold, I just need to tune out with some NPR Pop-Culture Happy Hour and commute.

    Anything else that you would like to include?

    Work doesn’t have to be the only “practical” destination for a run – the post office, drug-store, even small grocery trips can be a place you can fit in a run.  I’m fortunate that New York City is so compact, so much of what I need is within runnable distance.  After you factor in how long you have to wait for a train or a bus, or to look for parking, running is one of the most efficient ways to move around the city.  Once I realized that, I started running most of my errands.  That’s when a good pack is essential.  I can fit most daily grocery needs in my pack.  At an extreme, I’ve run two miles home with 20 pounds of dog-food on my back and a USPS package under one arm.  I’ve got a massive BOB double-jogging stroller, so I can run my kids to the park, with me to store, to gym class.  If you decide to run home 4 miles after a staff happy-hour, I do suggest you stop after the third beer.

     ———————————————————————————–

    Runner Basics

    • Name: Tarun Rajanthe run commuter, run commuting, running to work, new run commuter, running to get places, tarun rajan
    • Age: 31
    • City/State: Sydney/NSW/Australia
    • Profession/Employer: Biology Teacher at Macquarie University
    • Number of years running: 4
    • # of races you participate in a year: Did four last year, with hopes of doing more this year.
    • Do you prefer road or trail (and a little about why)? I like running trails, but for the sheer ease of getting out and doing it, road running works for me.

     Run Commuting Gear

    •  Backpack: I currently use a High Sierra 14L backpack that I picked up from Costco for not much. I removed the bladder from it to make room for things to carry to work.
    • Shoes: I have big dreams of running bare feet, but for now I pound the road in Brooks Ravenna 4.
    • Clothing: I use the running singlets that get given out at races and just about any shorts I have sitting in the cupboard.
    • Outerwear: It doesn’t get that cold in Sydney during winter. I don’t own a jacket or a base layer. Generally just run with a singlet or t-shirt on.
    • Headgear: Don’t wear one.
    • Lights: I run on dedicated cycleways which are well illuminated. Haven’t bothered purchasing one.
    • Hydration: I use a Caribee 1.5 hydration pack for my longer runs (15+km). I just drink plenty of water when I’m home or once I reach work.

    On Run Commuting

    Why did you decide to start run commuting?

    It’s good from a time management and financial perspective (don’t have to worry about parking tickets, petrol). I’ve only been doing this for 3 months though, so am fairly new.

    How often do you run commute?

    I run commute thrice a week (to and fro.)

    How far is your commute?

    Distance ranges from 6.5 to 10km depending on which route I take. If I’m in a hurry, I take the shortest route, but some days I run the longer distance just to mix it up.

    Do you pack or buy a lunch?

    I bring lunch from home everyday. I’ve got some decent Tupperware boxes which I cover in a plastic bag and put in my backpack.

    What do you like most about run commuting?

    It’s cheap, convenient and faster to get around during peak hours and I’ve heard some say it’s not too bad for your health either! Other commuters (bike, run) acknowledge you and it provides some motivation.

    Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

    Glen, my mate, is a God at running. He clocks some amazing mileage. He’s a real inspiration. I’ve taken to run commuting after him. He’s just so good at it. At this point in time, I only know of us two commuting to work on foot.

    When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

    I ride the bike to work twice a week (on Mondays and Fridays). I get my clothes for the week in a bigger backpack and store in the locker. Work is great, in that we have showers and lockers.

    If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

    Logistics are definitely a big issue. It takes a few goes to see what works for you. Take only what is essential, try and get it to work on days when you aren’t running.  Try and ease into commuting.  

    —————————————————

    If you are a new run commuter and want the running world to hear your story, let us know!
    We are now accepting submissions for April and May. If you are interested, submit the form below and we’ll contact you.
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    Back to School

    Kids Running

    Learn as much as you can while you are young, since life becomes too busy later. ~Dana Stewart Scott

    I love the smell of juice boxes in the morning. ~Robert Duval

    I think that when you get dressed in the morning, sometimes you’re really making a decision about your behavior for the day. Like if you put on flipflops, you’re saying: ‘Hope I don’t get chased today.’ ‘Be nice to people in sneakers.’ ~Demetri Martin

    Are you one of the elusive run commuting parents out there? Do your days now look something like this?

    Both of my kids are now in school. Our 4.5-year-old and 11-year-old started Pre-K and 6th grade (respectively) on Monday. In a flurry of planning, packing, lunch-making, and last-second coordination, they were off and arrived on time for their first days at school. On days where everything goes well and as-planned, life is good. But nevertheless, their new schedules affect our old schedules. Here is what a typical day in a running and cycling household looks like.

    • 5:30am: Josh wakes up, gets ready for work, packs lunches
    • 6:00am: 11-year-old “wakes up”, prepares himself for the day
    • 6:45am/7:00am: 11-year-old needs to be out the door to catch a bus
    • 7:00am: Rebecca and 4.5-year-old wake up, start getting ready
    • 7:30am: Josh’s No Later Than (NLT) time to leave in order to run commute
    • 8:00am: Rebecca leaves with 4.5-year-old to drop him off at school
    • 8:15am: Josh arrives at work
    • 8:20am: Rebecca drops car off at home, gets ready for work, bike commutes to office
    • — Kid’s in school, adults at work —
    • 4:30pm: 11-year-old arrives at drop off point 1 mile from home
    • 4:50pm: Josh leaves work, catches train, runs home from train station nearest home
    • 5:30pm: Josh arrives home, hops into car and heads out to pick up 4.5-year-old
    • 6:00-6:30pm: Everyone is finally home…

    This isn’t terribly different from what our schedule was before they were in school, since there was daycare and summer camp, but we have definitely had to make some adjustments this week. And this makes for some interesting conundrums; like this one – How does the 11-year-old get home at 4:30 while we’re both still at work?

    Walking, our prefered method, is unfortunately dangerous – traffic is ridiculously fast, red light runners are rampant, street crossings are inadequate, and there is very little foot traffic at all. Thankfully, we have an awesome neighbor whose son in our son’s class that he catches a ride with once he gets off the bus. We may be able to pair him up with another walker or two as time goes on, but for now this will work. Aside from a couple of quirks like that, there are time constraints that we have to deal with, too.

    I pick up the 4.5-year-old, but what if I have to stay a few minutes late at work? Will I be able to catch a train and run home with enough time to make it to his school without incurring exorbitant, ransom fees and (equally painful) cold, hard stares from his keepers?

    And another – Running behind schedule. If I can’t make my 7:30 hit time for leaving the house, I can only run part way to work. I have to run to a train station a couple of miles away and ride transit in to work to make it in time. It’s frustrating cutting a run short early in the morning.

    So while we, as parents, celebrate the return of our children to school, hopefully, we, as run commuters, can still make our preferred commutes happen on a regular basis. 

    For the run commuter parents/child-rearers out there – Does your kid’s school schedule conflict with your run commute? What are your challenges? How much do you adjust your commute to make things work? Are you a seasonal (school breaks) run commuter?

     

    By | 2016-10-22T20:26:44+00:00 August 7th, 2013|Categories: General, News|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

    Run to Work Day 2013!

    What are you doing on Friday, April 26th?  Hopefully running to or from work along with thousands of people around the globe!

    The fantastic folks over at Run to Work Day are promoting this year’s global day of run commuting by asking those that participate to donate the money they would have spent on vehicle/transit travel to a wonderful organization that works with children facing adversity – Right to Play.

    You can register (free) for the event through the link on their homepage and by doing so, you’ll become eligible for rewards and incentives (RunRelay magazine digital download).  You will even be able to upload/register your miles and/or route through the site, so that a worldwide total can be calculated.

    From the site:

    Unlike other running events there is no fixed or minimum distance to cover. You can pick your own route, distance and time of day plus decide if you want to run solo or with a colleague. If you have a long work commute perhaps you could plan to run just part of your travel distance by committing to get off the bus, train or underground a stop or two earlier than usual.

    RUN TO WORK DAY in not just an opportunity for runners around the world to ‘run for good’ it is also a chance for employers to encourage colleagues to create a healthy and active workplace. Further, we anticipate that many firms will agree to match-fund their employees’ charitable donations.

    Here are some promotional flyers to print out and hang at your office or local running store/club:

    If you need any tips on running to work, be sure to check out our FAQ’s.

    We hope to see you out there!

    What I saw on my summer vacation

    Laura and I just returned from Washington, D.C., a trip we’d planned more than a year. To give you the flavor of it: after a long day visiting historic sights and museums, we unwound in our hotel room by reading the founding Charters and other important American documents, and learning about the policies surrounding the War of 1812. RIVETING. (Seriously, it was.)

    But what of the unplanned things we saw? Sure, there was a wealth of bicyclists, barreling this way and that, but how ’bout the profusion of run commuters? We saw at least a dozen during our week there, earnest hoofers sporting backpacks in the evening rush, heading home, to the Metro, or destinations unknown.

    Seriously: sweet shorts.

    I hope his backpack contains a suit that matches those shorts.

    Each time, I over-eagerly pounded Laura’s surely-bruised-by-then arm, crowing, “Look, another one!” wondering after, “Why was there another one?” Why did D.C. proffer more run commuters than Atlanta? I can say with certainty that both cities are equally flush with runners. If you don’t get out before 6 a.m. in Atlanta, you will share your neighborhood’s streets with at least a dozen folks. I think herein lie some answers: (more…)

    Traffic Report

    Terry:   “Now we turn to Stephanie, our W-TRC traffic reporter. How’s it look out there, Stephanie?”

    Stephanie:   “It’s a pretty typical commute out here, Terry. We’ll start with the roads. Drivers, we have delays due to a crash and car fire on the inner loop of the beltway and a resulting gaper delay on the outer loop. The Thruway is jammed due to a jackknifed tractor-trailer. Authorities are on their way and only the shoulder is getting by at the moment. Expect delays on the interstate as the tolls increased today by 50¢ and the fast-toll lanes are malfunctioning. A tech is on the scene. Watch out as the cross-connector highway is running slowly in both directions; kind of strange for this time of day. Finally, everyone is scrambling over to the local roads due to troubled highways, so the overflow is making them slow.

    “On the City Transit Trains there are delays on the North-South line due to unscheduled track maintenance. The East-West lines are also slow due to a water-main break near the tracks. The drivers have turned off the auto-driver program through the wet area, so manual driving is causing delays. And there’s a cracked rail outside the City Center station; they are single-tracking it through there. Riders should also check the City Transit website for a large number of escalator and elevator outages.

    “Finally, Bike and Run Commuters, it’s all clear for you. Go get out there.”

    In The News: The Flintstone Commute

    The Real Flintstones

    The Real Flintstones

    A reporter for the Arts and Life section of The Daily, an iPad-exclusive national e-newspaper, recently delved into the mysterious – nay, ‘prehistoric’ – world of run commuting, even going so far as trying it himself for two weeks.  Now that’s dedication that we here at TRC can appreciate.

    Bill Bradley interviewed long distance run commuter, Bob Heskovitz, who shared some solid tips on running to work.  In addition to the article, Bradley reviewed a few of the smaller running backpacks, too, including the Osprey Manta 20.

    Article: The Flintstone Commute: Running to work is good for your health and your schedule

    Pack Reviews: The Right Stuff

    Run Commuting Made Easier? A New Idea Out of London

    A recent article in the London Evening Standard  introduces a new company that provides a unique service for people who want to run home from work. 

    Home Run describes its services as “a series of guided group runs home from central London…we even carry your bag!”  Gear is transported by bicycle to a designated finish point and you can pick it up once your group arrives. 

    Check out their video here:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tP4wnhWPqo&feature=player_embedded]

    It’s a pretty cool concept, but one that probably wouldn’t work in areas outside of large, urban centers.  It would definitely work well in Atlanta – for those people who work and live in Atlanta.  It might even work well for suburbanites if a group run finished at a commuter bus pickup location. 

    What do you think?  Would you try run commuting if you were able to run after a long day of work without the hassle of carrying your gear?

    By | 2016-10-22T20:26:58+00:00 July 27th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |1 Comment
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