1000 miles in Prospect Park

Note: Originally written for another blog. Posted here for posterity. The “bearded guy” I have since found out is legendary local ultra runner Lois Rios.

Last night, sometime right around the top of the hill, near the great lawn, I ran my 1,000th mile in Prospect Park. Ok, I have probably run more, in the early days of my running I didn’t keep very good track. When I started running in 2006, I put in my first miles in the park, entering from the Parkside entrance and heading up the hill. I couldn’t make it all the way around the park without stopping. I went to law school in D.C. and only visited the park on the rare occasions when I was back in Brooklyn.

Since returning to New York this past fall, I’ve put in a lot of time in the park. Doing the 3.3 loop, I enter at Grand Army plaza and take a right. Some small rollers as I pass the playground and the band shell, then the ball fields and  the down hill to the lake, around the lake past the drum circle, past the zoo and the botanical gardens, and then up the hill by the great lawn. It is the perfect loop. Some flat, some up, some down, always plenty to see.

I know many of the regulars now. The bearded guy* who, no matter when I get there on the weekend, is run-walking his way around the loop. The small pack of older fast dudes who I always see around seven on week nights; the group of Latino guys who meet by the lake and clock off their miles around a 6:30 pace. We nod to each other acknowledging that we are the ones out here, no matter the weather, getting in our miles, in the greatest urban park in the United States.

Tonight, I think I’ll make it 1008 miles in the park.

* I am dying to know the bearded guys story. I have seen him pictured in some articles about the NYC ultra community. I would approach him, but when I say hello he isn’t particularly friendly.

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