The Illinois Marathon in Champaign was yesterday. That race is like a run down memory lane for me.
I’m sure that’s the true for all University of Illinois alumni. All of the races (marathon, halfmarathon, 5K, or 10K) go through campus and finish at Memorial Stadium. But the sentimental value of the race goes beyond campustown for me since I grew up in Champaign.
The marathon is particularly meaningful to me. It goes by places that are special but only to me. For example, both of my grandparents’ houses. (I’m 3rd generation townie, everyone is from Champaign.)
I was tempted to run the marathon since I’m back in Champaign while I’m between jobs, but I got a healthy dose of reality running the Shamrock Shuffle back in Chicago at the beginning of April. I decided to pass on the marathon and run the 10K instead. (The half marathon is just way too much Urbana for me.)
Even though I’m not racing the marathon, I still run frequently. I signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October and I won’t be undertrained for that one.
I meander around Champaign whenever I go running. I usually skip the main thoroughfares and wander on the side streets. I go by pretty random places intentionally. For example, Morrissey Park where my friends in grade school played 5-on-5 tackle football every Friday year round (a.k.a Friday Football).
As a side note, Morrissey Park is also where high school kids would go to get drunk Dazed and Confused style after dark. (Not me, I was too much of a goody-two-shoes for that.) I wonder if the kids still go there…
I also seem to run by my friends’ old houses and inevitably go by my own childhood home. The last time I did so I also ran by my old grade school, St. Matthews. That was easy because the school was a quarter mile away from home. I walked to school every day until I went to high school.
That is pretty incredible when I think about it. I was trusted to walk to school alone as a child, even when I was in kindergarten. I have a hard time believing helicopter parents would be comfortable with that now.
I liked walking to school. I had control of my schedule and could come and go as I pleased. It was not a problem provided I got to school on time, which I always did. It probably will not surprise you that I was very punctual then and still am now.
I think walking to school for 8+ years really developed me into a responsible child and a reliable adult. I don’t know if my parents picked our house (or the school) by design or if this was just a happy coincidence. In either case, thank you Mom and Dad for not letting me turn in Wooderson.
And thank you for reading.