Gearing up for Broad Street in an unexpected way

Editor’s note: Two years ago, Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn, overweight and feeling it, would never have dreamed of competing in the Broad Street Run. Now back at it for his second Broad Street experience, this time a trimmer version claims he knows what he is getting into.

Do not try this at home.

Last week, I began training again for the May 5th Broad Street Run.  I brought my 2002 Highlander to the mechanic in Pitman, New Jersey. Heater was blowing only cold air. So, at 8 a.m., after dropping the car off, I decided to walk to Rowan University in Glassboro, about three miles away, and head to the Rec center for a workout. Figured I’d get a phone call around 10, maybe bum a ride and head back to the auto shop, and then drive home to Mullica Hill.

Call came right on time. But it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

Car’d be ready by 2, 2:30 … he said. OK, no one’s home. No cabs in sight. Can’t work out that long. So, let’s hoof it. Might be five miles, six or even seven ...

So this much is true. There are no sidewalks on Route 322. Not in Glassboro, not near Route 55, not in Mullica Hill.

Cars, on the other hand, like to go 65 in a 50-mile-per-hour zone. There’s about three feet between the trees and the white line on the road. So it truly became a hike.

Running 10 miles for a novice like me last year on Broad Street was just as much a mental test as physical. Find that place in your head that doesn’t continually harp – are we there yet? – and you just keep on going and going and going …

So this trip certainly put me in the right frame of mind. After about an hour, I had to make a decision – traverse, at a diagonal, a wide open field of former corn stalks and peach trees where hunters have been known to expel a few pellets – or take the long way home, on pavement and asphalt.

It might have saved about a third of the two miles left. I thought about it and crossed the street, now with traffic instead of against. Yes, no … Go for it (what are you crazy?) …

I took a few steps into the dethatched jungle and saw a dead coyote. A few strides later was a dead possum in a creek (don’t tell Jethro, Ellie May and Granny, they may come looking for supper).

So back to the streets it was. Step by step, inch by inch.

A half hour later, I was home. By noon. It came to about eight miles, round trip. I sweated through the hooded sweatshirt under my jacket and hit the showers.

Broad Street was a challenge last year and I had no idea how tough it would be. So deciding to run it in the first place was just as much fool’s gold as anything.

Deciding to run it again is a conscious decision. No excuses this time.

We picked up the car at 3 p.m. – five bills and 10 pounds lighter.