Thoughts on the Run

             “I wanna give the Earth relief, R-E-C-Y-C-L-E. Oh, I wanna give the Earth relief, R-E-C-Y-C-L-E!

 

Runners have a funny habit of getting songs stuck in their heads. As characteristic as cold beer is after a hard workout, it is likewise common practice to fixate on a tune and repeat it in your head the entire duration of a long training run or race. The origin of these internal concerts is as big a mystery to me as running 26 miles might be to you. For the most part the songs just “pop” in there. Yet on occasion some expositional force will impose its will on the psyche and pull from distant recesses a long lost memory.

              “If you want a future, you better conserve. The less we use the more we do to save this planet Earth.”

My run on Saturday was interrupted by the resurgence of a melody from my childhood. The sufferer of sore joints and tired legs, I had taken to the Middlesex Fells in nearby Medford for some trail running. It was a vain attempt to spare my bones the pounding of a longer run on asphalt. It was also cold, snowy and gray, and I imagined the trails sparsely populated. Indeed, there were fewer people than your average Saturday. Their remnants from the previous week, however, were in disgraceful abundance.

The sight of a discarded 32-ounce plastic Dunkin’ Donuts cup under a tree on the Reservoir Trail jogged (pun intended) a foregone memory of sitting at home after school watching syndicated reruns of ALF. Somewhere in or around 1991, maybe ’92, Maine Public Broadcasting issued a series of television spots aimed at young viewers. The mission of these public service announcements was to instill tenets of environmentalism via catchy jingles, fashioned as country, ska, and do-wop songs. They worked; much of the environmental urgency ubiquitous during my adolescence did. Just as I trained my legs to traverse the Earth, cultural influence trained my youthful brain to care about it. As an adult, I still do.

Refuse in the forest is the metaphoric dog poop on your street corner. Maybe you don’t think about it until you step in it. Then it becomes your problem. Well, trust me when I say every runner has the heart of a conservationist. Every stride is a reminder that the Earth is pushing you back. And every piece of garbage left behind is feces we have to step in.

The current health crisis, by way of restriction, has reintroduced our natural habitat to individuals and families looking for household escape. That’s fine (social distancing practices implied); the outdoors isn’t just for runners. It’s for everyone! But on behalf of the runners, hikers, nature enthusiasts, and friends like ours at Maine Hut & Trails, let’s remember to do our part to keep our planet unpolluted and litter-free. We can all spread the word – or in my case a cheesy, childhood song – to help keep our parks and forests clean.

Tony Grassi

Field Marketing & Territory Sales Manager

 

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