I LOVE TO JOG, AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY
A view of London from the top of Parliament Hill in the Hampstead Heath.
A lot of people find jogging--and joggers--boring, but I've always been fortunate enough to jog in some of the most amazing places in the world and, in a sense, have felt more connected to them by doing so.
As Guy Browning, one of my favorite Guardian columnists wrote:
"Jogging, like heavy metal, becomes interesting only when done at an intensity that threatens to burst something vital to the body."
I was reflecting on that just this morning, as I nearly choked on the crisp, chilly air like an emphysema patient with a clogged voice box. Now I have suffered a lack of cardiovascualr activities in recent times, but in this case I was making a fighting effort to tackle a very steep hill. Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath to be exact, where you can view all of London--including the Gherkin and the London Eye.
I haven't properly jogged since I lived in Santa Cruz, where, in just under five minutes, I could reach a beach with a Coney Island-style boardwalk to the right of me, and a yacht harbor complete with light house to the left. Just before that, I was living near Capitol Hill; in 10 minutes of jogging I could reach the Washington Monument, running along the Reflecting Pool and culminating in a visit to ole Honest Abe.
But I reckon that most people, even those living in the most gentrified mess of tract-home hell that is suburbia, can find a sense of pride and connectedness with their surroundings by simply putting their feet to the pavement and roaming free. The mundane can become active and alive; the foreign and unfamiliar becomes your playground.
Masha Gessen is the author of *The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia*, which will be published in October. In the July issue of Har...
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