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Running with the Mayor

In running, as in life, things happen in increments. You suddenly find yourself in a situation you could not have imagined or running a race you thought impossible. It often requires a leap of faith to get to those places and races. You keep pushing because you believe you will get there, even though you have no clue how.

I can not claim that I have been pushing myself very hard lately, still quietly celebrating the completion of Marathon of the Sands. But since we have a 50k trail race in September, I though it’s time to get back on track. So I started last week by running in the footsteps of Alberto Arroyo.

Alberto Arroyo is believed to be the first man that started jogging around the reservoir in Central Park. This was in 1937. He continued this daily routine unaffected by sun, rain, snow or thunder. Old age forced him to replace running with walking and eventually a stroke in 2008 put him in a wheelchair. By this time he believed he had made the round 200 000 times. When he could no longer run or walk, he used to sit in the park and encourage fellow runners.

During his 70 years of running he became quite famous, despite his humble life. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who later gave the Reservoir its name, once visited him a few days before her death to thank him for a get-well card. He became an institution in the city and is now known as the Mayor of Central Park.

He died in 2004, at 94.

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