The New Run Commuters – March 2018

This month’s New Run Commuter is David Roland, from our headquarters city of Atlanta, Georgia. I had the pleasure of meeting David in person last week, and we spoke not only about how he became a run commuter, but also of Atlanta’s many, many distracted drivers and the dangerous conditions they create for vulnerable users, such as pedestrians, runners, and cyclists. David’s advice for staying safe? Be mindful of cars turning at intersections – they often don’t see people in the crosswalks – and make sure you are as visible as possible.

Read more about David’s story below and if you are interested in being the next run commuter featured on TRC, please fill out the contact form at the end of the post.


Runner Basics

  • Name:  David Roland

  • Age:  35

  • City/State: Atlanta, GA

  • Profession/Employer: Web Developer | Software Engineer

  • Number of years running: 5

  • # of races you participate in a year: 1 – 3

  • Do you prefer road or trail? I like both, the good thing about running on trails is that you don’t have to look for cars.

David Roland

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: Gregory Miwok 18. I carry work clothes, breakfast and some extra running clothes. I think 18 is a good size for my needs, because if I need to also carry shoes or lunch, I can.

  • Shoes: Nike Downshifter 5, though I don’t recommend them for running everyday.

  • Clothing: Nike running shorts and any t-shirt (preferably a t-shirt from a running race or a dri-fit one). I also wear a Buff headband on my neck when it is a bit chilly.

  • Outerwear: During winter, I use a thick windblocker: New Balance Men’s Windblocker Running 1/2 Zip, and New Balance running tights/pants.

  • Headgear: Nike Featherlight Dri-Fit hat. I prefer to run without it, but when it is raining or too sunny, I use it. Also Rudy Project Rydon glasses.

  • Lights: LED Slap Armband – sometimes I use it on my arm, and sometimes I hook it on the back of my backpack. Usually I run home during daylight, so I don’t use it that often.

  • Hydration: None. My commute is not very far, so I drink water before and after.

Atlanta traffic from above

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

After watching the movie McFarland, USA, I thought I should try it someday.

I’ve been a bike commuter since 2013. This winter I started having many flat tires on my bike, since I was commuting on a single speed with thin tires. I didn’t carry any gear to fix them, so I started running back home. After 3 or 4 flats, I started run commuting back and forth and leaving the bike at home.

How often do you run commute?

Almost every day, though I don’t want to overdo it, because I’m afraid of hurting my knees long-term.

How far is your commute?

3 miles (5 km) each way, very hilly.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I buy lunch at the office cafeteria – usually a salad with some protein.

What do you like most about run commuting?

The most important reason for me is that I hate being stuck in traffic, that’s why I choose running or biking over taking a car or bus. I love the feeling of waking up and thinking “Nice, I will go running”, instead of “Uff, I need to go to the office” :D

Also, it is more fun, better for physical and mental health, better for the environment, and cheaper.


Gregory Miwok 18 with contents

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

After I started run commuting I was googling more about it and I found this website. Since the creator is also from Atlanta, I messaged him and we met.

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

Sometimes I bike (10-15 min), or else I take the bus (35 min), while running takes me 25 min.

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

I read this before and I think it’s great advice: you don’t have to run everyday or both ways, or even all the way (mix it with public transit or driving), just do what you can. You can also try the route over the weekend to see how you feel and learn what it is like.

Also, try to find where you can shower. Maybe there is a gym close by, or even showers in your building – ask around.

Anything else that you would like to include?

Some advice based on my experience: when run commuting, you have to be careful at intersections (even with lights) because drivers turn without looking for pedestrians. Some of them are on their phones. It is very dangerous. Try to wear bright clothes.

Are you interested in being featured on The New Run Commuters? If so, fill out the form below and we’ll send you more details.

The New Run Commuters Submission Form

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Am I a Runner?

A few medals


“You’re not a runner. You’re a racer.”

That was what my coach said to me. She was neither complimenting nor criticizing me. She was describing me.

This is the story of my running career, such as it is. In 2015, I ran my first half marathon. My cousin and her husband had come to visit. He was running the San Francisco marathon. He told me if he could do it, I could too. I have since repeated that sentiment to many others, because it is true.

Inspired by casual conversation, I signed up. I figured I would try a half marathon. That is 13.1 miles. It seemed just within reach.

I finished. It took just under three hours. I was stiff and sore for two days. But I had found myself. The experience was that combination of joyful and miserable that compels repeating — I was once in the San Francisco Chinese New Year’s parade, riding a convertible at night in the cold rain, waving nonstop while trying not to fall off the back of the vehicle; that was the perfect combination of fun and discomfort that should have a name.

That year, I did another ten races. I did not train. I didn’t do anything in between. Except I regularly walked to work. I didn’t taper in that routine.

Perhaps I am obsessive. In 2016, I ran a total of 36 half marathons. I had set a goal of 24, but I got carried away. I brought my personal record down to 2:30. I looked for events wherever I went. In 2017, I managed approximately 27 half marathons. I am not quite sure because I stopped keeping track with care. I ran at altitude, above one mile, in Fort Collins, Colorado. I added different distances. There were multiple night races carrying lights. I achieved a 2:17 in the San Jose Rock ‘n Roll. But I also learned I couldn’t fly coast to coast, arrive late at night, and perform the next morning.

At some point, my wife decided I needed professional help. She concludes that about various aspects of my life. So, she hired a trainer for an assessment.

When we met, Angela put me on a treadmill and filmed my butt. She informed me my stride was asymmetrical and inefficient. I bought a package of sessions.

We are working on making me more of a runner. I’m not a runner in another sense. I am a run walker. I alternate. I have thought I ought to learn race walking. That sport may be just my speed literally. I admire its quirkiness. It has that punctiliousness about rules that appeals to me as a law professor.

For now, I run about a mile at a time. Then I walk a bit. I goad myself. Others use the same technique. I say when I cross that intersection or pass that tree, I have to get going again, then I have to make it at least to the next similar marker and so on. I pick a personal pacer. I remind myself not to be creepy about following someone.

So, I still am not fast, but I am persistent. I have never not finished. I have run back-to-back races, Saturday and Sunday, more than once. This past New Year’s Eve, I ran with a friend who is faster. I finished at the top of the bottom tenth. The next day, I ran with her sister who is even faster. I finished at the top of the bottom sixth. Considering the earlier excursion and the elevation gain of the route, I was satisfied to see the improvement relative to the field even if I remained at the back of the pack.

Along the way, I became not a runner, but a run commuter. I was I delighted to discover that to be a run commuter, as kids say nowadays, “is a thing.” I want to make progress in this pastime. My coach assures me I am ready for a full marathon, especially having completed the final warm up for the New York City marathon, an 18 miler that consisted of three loops of Central Park. She also tells me I can be considerably faster if I were disciplined, running more often and actually running when I “run.”

Thus, I turned the stroll to work into a jog, and, now, a run-walk. There are two long, gentle downhills, at the beginning from my home into the park and at the end through Hayes Valley toward City Hall. On both these stretches, I really move. Ever so briefly, I am a real runner. Yet I can report that through all this I have not once laced up my shoes to run, other than to a destination or in an organized event. I don’t just go out to run. It doesn’t interest me. I love running. I simply don’t do it for it’s own sake.

There are many types of runners. I guess I have created a category for myself. I’m an anti-runner who happens to run. There must be others out there.

Run Commuting Story Roundup – February 17, 2017

Here’s a quick roundup of interesting run commuting stories I found recently. I’ll try and do a similar post monthly if enough content can be found.

If you have written a post about run commuting on your blog, or have read a news article or post about run commuting that you want us to know about, send us an email and it may show up in a future Run Commuting Story Roundup.




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