In 2015, I was interning in Rome when I decided to start long distance running. I just wanted to be able to eat all the Italian goodness without feeling guilty. As I was not a distance runner and did not know what to expect, I ended up not following a strict running schedule. I was still was able to discover the city in ways that I wouldn’t have.
I ran my first half marathon in Montreal, where I had been living for 3 years. At the beginning of the race, I naively thought that I would be able to handle the distance without too much trouble. However, mile 10 to 13 were nearly impossible. When I started struggling, one of the bands along the course started playing “Highway to Hell”, which helped me surmount the last 3 miles. I was still able to finish in a time that I thought was acceptable (2h03).
I was hooked. I had discovered new parts of a city that I thought I knew by heart, but it turned out that there was much I had never seen. The supporting crowd and fellow runners made me realize how amazing the running community is. Discovering the city on foot got me thinking about city structures and what made the city so appealing to me. I was studying environmental sciences at the time, and my first half marathon experience helped me realize how I could make a difference while enjoying a sport that has a relatively low impact on the environment through urban planning. Soon, the running community became like a second family.
Since the Montreal Rock n’Roll half marathon in 2015, I have run several half marathons and three full marathons.