JP spotlight on Paul Davies: JP parkrunners are accustomed to running in circles but this is ridiculous!

This special time of the year where one day can be blazing hot and sunny quickly followed the next day by snow and cold biting winds is also a time where we welcome hundreds of fellow parkrunners from around the globe as they descend upon Jamaica Pond to run 2 loops of our favorite course as a shake out run before tackling that historic course from Hopkinton Town Common to Copley Square. Sadly, in this current pandemic Boston Marathon 2020 was postponed.

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Scenes from last year's Boston Marathon weekend

The “HowWasYourRunToday?” podcast and the YouTube channel “Running With Cameras” teamed up and suggested celebrating Marathon Monday by doing some 26.2 themed activities but keeping it close to home and donating to a charity. So, for the #BackyardBostonMarathon event I mapped out a 2.62 mile loop around my house and ran 10 laps. My family joined in the fun, first my youngest son Ciaran along with our dog Chloe, followed by my other son, Aidan, and wife, Bronwyn, each ran one loop with me.

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It was a strange experience to witness the same part of my neighborhood 10 times, giving me snapshots of happenings during a 4-hour time slot. Neighbors doing some gardening gave me quizzical looks as I ran by them 3 times, and on two loops I saw a teenage birthday party at a house where close friends spilled out onto the streets but kept 6 feet distance from each other. On this 26.2 mile run there was no screech alley at Wellesley College or drunk BC/BU student cheering me on, but I did have a postman give me an encouraging yell “You’ve got a lot of miles to go, keep it going!”. On my penultimate loop I came across a bloody cyclist (not the British expression of endearment to our biker friends but actual body fluids) lying in the road so I stayed with him until he was able to stand and get going again.

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Although #BackyardBostonMarathon was organized a few days before Monday, I knew runners from 17 States and several countries that took part. It was great to feel part of some group effort again, a feeling that I would normally get running loops around JP pond on a Saturday morning.

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-Paul Davies, avid JP parkrunner