Running: A Short Discourse
I have been a runner for many years. When I visit different cities, I experiment to find safe running routes. Usually the best place to run is inside a public park like Central Park in New York City.
When I lived in a rural area, I found running on the side of a highway was too dangerous. I had to be alert for raccoons, possums, deer, skunks, dogs and speeding motor vehicles. If I could not find a public park to run in I would join a gym to run on a treadmill.
In the late 90’s when I lived in California there were safe, running routes that went for miles north and south along the beach from the Redondo Beach Pier.
For many years I have been running on the Jersey Shore. During the summer months when the temperature is hot and humid there are many visitors at the beach. Therefore it is best to run early in the morning from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM to beat the heat and the crowds. A running route beginning at the Shark River Bridge in Belmar, heading north along the ocean front through Avon, Bradley Beach, Ocean Grove, Asbury Park around Deal Lake and back is a pleasant and safe run of around 6 ½ miles. One can also run south from the Shark River Bridge through Belmar, Spring Lake, Sea Girt and back. The southern run along the boardwalk is about 8 miles.
One Wednesday morning I decided to run in the dark at 5:00 AM. This is a pleasant time to run. The temperature is cool and there are few people around. I ran south from the Shark River Bridge through Belmar and continued running on Ocean Avenue through Spring Lake. I was content, enjoying my morning jog. Suddenly, I heard a vicious, hissing sound. When I turned my head there was a medium sized skunk glaring at me. I was ten yards past the animal, so luckily the skunk did not take off after me or spray me. The hissing sound was a warning. Although older, slower and heavier, I ran very fast for at least 100 yards. I did not run as fast as the 100 meter Olympic Champion Usian Bolt of Jamaica but it felt like it.
The moral of the story is, no matter how safe you feel or where you are, be aware of your surroundings, there may be something out there hissing at you.