Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Tim Leach and the date is August 3rd 2020. As this is the first blog post for The Streets Initiative (and my first blog post ever as a matter of fact), I’d say the best thing to do would be to start by explaining exactly what The Streets Initiative is, what I hope to accomplish with it going forward, and my motivation for the project.
We live in a time where I feel like almost everywhere you turn, negativity is encountered, sort of like an ugly presence that is always lurking in the background. Social media, politics, the environment, etc. all coupled with the extreme nature of certain people’s or group’s passion for their cause all seem to reinforce the fact (at least to me anyway), that we are always doing something wrong, always breaking rules in some way. In the last few years, I’ve found myself becoming more and more negative and increasingly cynical and didn’t like the place that I saw myself heading.
I woke up one morning and figured that despite the world’s very real problems, that it was time to focus on the equal number of positives life currently provides, has provided in the past, and will continue to provide in the future. I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in a loving household with parents and siblings that encouraged and supported me, and luckily when I got older, was able to marry a strong woman who has continued to support me and willingly accepted the difficult task of raising our three wonderful boys alone with me being out of town the majority of time for work. I said that I was fortunate in this regard because this isn’t often the case with all people. As a result of my upbringing and subsequent life path to this point, I’ve been able to take advantage of a series of opportunities that came my way.
Make no mistake, I’ve had to work hard to ensure that those opportunities came to fruition, and sometimes the sacrifices entailed paid a heavy toll, but the fact that they were there to begin with is something that i’m very grateful for as I look back on life through the eyes of the ancient 42 year old man that I’ve strangely turned into (I remember when my Dad was this age and thought that he was as old as dirt!).
Anyways, I digress, The Streets Initiative is an attempt to give back to Edmonton and Edmonton area communities by attempting an athletic endeavor that I believe will prove to be difficult in ways that I both understand now, and in ways that I will come to understand over time. My goal is to run every street, avenue, alley, golf course, cemetery, and paved path in the city of Edmonton such as it is and such as it will become, however long it takes. I’d say that I’m pretty sure that I am not the first person to attempt this feat, but I am pretty sure that I’m the first to try and raise donations for deserving organisations while doing it. Maybe I’m wrong about that but either way, I’m just happy and content in the fact that people will benefit from this even if it ends up only being in a small way.
For every kilometre that I run I will personally donate $1.00 to the cause. This ensures that The Streets Initiative cannot fail, but also allows for an upside that will be subject to varying degrees of success. I’m hoping, of course that it becomes wildly successful and that overtime it will catch on in the same way a tiny snow ball rolls down a hill and gets larger as it nears the bottom. That the local charities will be the recipients of the generosity of many of our fellow citizens. But regardless of my ultimate dream of this initiative being able to raise large dollars, i’m super excited to get going. Based on my rough gorilla math, I estimate that this endeavor will “run” somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000 to 15,000 kms and that it will take me anywhere from 5 – 10 years to get it done. Time will tell how accurate my predictions are. It could be more or it could be less, I guess we will have to wait and see.
There aren’t very many rules to this as the premise is fairly simple, but being a long time runner I’ve come to realize that in spite of the simplicity of the act of running, things can happen and that I should outline some rules for myself to address some of the eventualities that I think could possibly surface. So here they are:
RULE 1: As previously mentioned, I will be obligated to run every street, avenue, alley, golf course, cemetery, and paved trail in the entire city until complete. For each kilometre that I run, I will donate $1.00 to the cause.
RULE 2: If the battery on my running watch dies during a run (which means the GPS will stop recording my progress) the subsequent kms that I complete for that specific run do not count towards the overall distance and donation total and will need to be run again. The GPS and tracking map must have a visual record that it was completed.
RULE 3: Any sections that are re run (is that even a word?) due to the inevitable back tracking that will be required to take place will still count to the overall distance and resulting donations.
RULE 4: Any road with a center divider, be it a grass ditch, jersey barriers, grassy medians, etc, will be required to be run in both directions. Examples of this would be Anthony Henday Drive, The Whitemud Freeway, or Rabbit Hill Road.
RULE 5: Parking lots and non paved paths are excluded as a requirement. Parking lots because of the chance of me eventually getting my melon squashed by a teenager texting as they back up mom’s minivan while at the same time trying to take an Instagram selfie, and unpaved paths because, as anyone who has used our trail system knows, the network of single track trails is extensive and would be too difficult to ascertain if I got them all or not.
RULE 6: Have fun, it’s all good in the ‘hood!
Well, there you have it. Those are the rules for now and maybe I’ll need to add a few as time goes on but I can’t think of any more at the moment. Whatever.
One thing I think I should mention before I sign off is that I realize that everyone has causes that are important to them, and that I’m no different in this regard. Therefore I’ve come up with a way to eliminate bias on my part as to which groups are receiving funds. My plan at this point is to feature a certain individual every period as part of the site’s Featured Runner segment. This person will get to decide who the funds will be gathered for and dispersed to. Whether that period is every month or two months, I don’t know yet, just another thing that will be determined as time goes on I guess.
Feel free to comment on the page but in the meantime I better head to the store and go grab myself a fresh pair of Gel Nimbus’s (my go to shoe). Happy running and hopefully I see you out there!