After 50 runs averaging six miles each time, I have finally completed a single page of my Glasgow Street map. To put this in context: there are nearly 200 pages in my street map (though it does cover half of Ayrshire, the Central Belt and as far north as Kincardine) so I have completed 0.5% of central Scotland!
Aside – I really should have got a street map with a smaller area, my progress would seem much more impressive, just like an advert for a sofa always makes the cushions seem bigger by hiring very small models to sit on them. Oh well, I’ll know better next time.
With one page complete, I thought I’d share some tips in case you think of trying to run the streets around your own home:
Tip One – There is a purity in running every street from your own home. It’s what the Pope would do, as he’s very pure, though I have to point out that he’d have it easy as the Vatican state is very small and he’d be able to run every street just by crossing St Peter’s Square to give a speech. However, if you’re not the Pope, and I’m fairly confident the Pontiff will not be reading this so it’s unlikely your name if Francis and you’re going to appear on Strava next week with the Vatican’s local hero tag, then you’ll probably have quite a few streets to run. And while the first ten or so runs will spiral out from your home, the next runs will involve you having to run along the streets you’ve previously claimed to get to your new world of virgin streets. After a few more runs, you’ll find you’re running 1 – 2 miles to get to the new streets and suddenly your average run has risen from 4 – 6 miles to 6 – 9 miles because you feel that you at least need to make a good effort to claim the streets after you get there.
So, just like the Pope, I feel I need to absolve you of your sins. Once you get to that stage, it’s okay to drive a bit or cycle over before starting. I didn’t. But I am pretending to be the Pope in this example so must be whiter than white. However, in future, now that I’ve finished my page, I will have no hesitation in driving from my house to get to a ‘start line’.
Tip Two – You may feel tempted to look at your phone to check where you are or what streets you need to cover. And for this, I must confess, that I have sinned! For yea, didst I look upon the Google Maps whilst trying to find a street in Orchard Park that I’d missed the first time and didn’t want to miss a second time as I’d already ran two miles to get there. But, if you can, try not to use your phone. There is nothing more satisfying than working out the layout of a new housing estate just by looking at the road and checking whether it’s covered in tarmac like a public road (which is likely to have roads branching from it) or is made of bricks like a private drive (and likely a dead end). And, you know what else? Orienteers use maps. And you don’t want to be an orienteer. Orienteering is nothing but advanced geography with trainers. Who knows what an ox-bow lake is? Orienteers, that’s who! The dweebs! Avoid!
Tip Three: After running all of these streets I have found a new love of the area I live – because these are no longer Glasgow’s streets, these are my streets. I am the Snake from the old Nokia mobile game. I have conquered these streets and turned them red, blue, green, brown, orange, yellow, blue and purple in my name. Now, to add the other 199 pages to complete my atlas.