Now, don’t get the wrong impression. I’m a runner because I run. But that’s like saying I’m a golfer because I’ve played golf. I’m not very good at either one. I can complete the activity, but no one is throwing sponsorship or prize money at me. I didn’t run any of those races in Central Park to compete, except maybe with myself. I ran them just to complete them.
Running around Central Park is a great way to experience it. The park is vast and varied. Its roads twist and turn. There are hills (which seemed like mountains when I first started running them) and woods and small hidden pathways. You can easily lose yourself inside Central Park, either by accident or on purpose. And you’re not alone. On any given day, rain or shine (or snow), runners of all shapes, sizes and skill levels take to the roads and paths…sometimes to race, more often to train, and mostly just to enjoy running in the park.
When I wrote Inland, I knew the main character would be a runner -- and I wrote her to be a much better runner than me! Cat is a competitive runner, and Central Park is her home turf. I saw of plenty of runners like Cat when I was training in the park, all of them flying past me as if I was standing still. I will never be a runner like Cat, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the activity in my own way...and at my own pace.
The next time you're in Central Park, lace up your shoes and go for a run. Short or long, it doesn’t matter. Central Park and your fellow runners will be happy for the company.