How to run every street in your town – Canadian Running Magazine

The #RunEveryStreet challenge started organically for runners like Vancouver’s David Papineau, who set out with a pen and paper to run all 1,090 streets in the Vancouver area in 2014. It wasn’t until 2018 that renowned ultrarunner Rickey Gates ran every street in San Francisco over 46 days, which put CityStrides on the map and opened the realm of possibilities for runners like Toronto’s Stephen Peck, who recently did the same thing on his city’s 11,000 streets.
In case you do not know what CityStrides is (i.e. me, six months ago), it’s an Internet open street map software that syncs with MapMyRun, Garmin and Strava, creating a heatmap which shows you how much of a city you’ve run. CityStrides uses the GPS data from the third-party apps and throws all the runs or walks you’ve ever done on a map, giving you a super precise detail of the streets you’ve covered and when you’ve covered them.
When Papineau first uploaded his runs to CityStrides in 2018, he was shocked at how much of Vancouver he still had to cover. “I used to print a map on paper and bring it with me on my run,” says Papineau. “Trying to run every street is like building a house: most runners have covered the main streets and parks (the foundation), and running every street is just filling in the gaps between.”
If you use a third-party app like Strava or Garmin Connect for your training, getting started on CityStrides is easy. Visit the CityStrides website and connect to the third-party app to create your profile within seconds.
The application will automatically create a profile for you and connect all your previous runs and all runs moving forward.
If you are just starting with running, using CityStrides is an easy way to keep yourself motivated. Use your progress as motivation to run every street in your neighbourhood or town. “One of the rewarding things about CityStrides is that you will often see places you would often never go to,” says Papineau.
Papineau said the best way to get started is to get out and do it! “Start with the short runs around your immediate neighbourhood on streets you have not run down, and branch out from there.”
Some techniques Papineau used while completing Vancouver were pre-setting his route on his GPS watch, plus graphing out runs in areas he’s never been. “In grid cities or towns, it’s easy to tackle running every street in a particular neighbourhood since the roads are restricted to parallel and perpendicular directions.”
“I’d travel to an area and write down the streets I needed, then run them,” says Papineau.
“When you start seeing your total completion percentage go up, you almost get this endorphin rush for completing new streets,” he says. “It’s rewarding to see all your hard work documented.”
CityStrides may become an obsession, or you may not like it at all, but at least you get to see and experience new places you’d never see in your own backyard.
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