Recreation

Running for a virtual 'record'

The Nature Call: Fastest Known Time keeps you motivated to run fast

John Lawreence Hanson meets his favorite old walnut tree during a run on the Sac and Fox Trail. (John Lawrence Hanson/co
John Lawreence Hanson meets his favorite old walnut tree during a run on the Sac and Fox Trail. (John Lawrence Hanson/correspondent)
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I didn’t know a “fun run” included a sprint at the end.

So much for finishing together.

There went my first-place overall medal. At least I got first in the men’s division — lucky for me the boy had a bum toe.

If you count on race T-shirts to replenish your wardrobe, then we share fashion sense. We also share a bummer of the pandemic — all the races have been canceled.

The race directors are doing the responsible thing, thank you. But I’ve got itches to scratch. Don’t you?

Well, when life hands you an empty race route, then you might as well make your own.

That was our family task last weekend, to do our own edition of the annual trail run at the Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve. Jasper County Conservation puts on a dandy yearly outing. I think we’ve only missed a couple runnings since the inaugural event in 2005.

The coronavirus has put more of us out-of-doors, which is good. But without some goal or direction, plenty who wander are lost.

So beyond running your own race, why not set a record. As an Iowan you are in luck.

A current big deal in the silent sports is Fastest Known Time. That is: you, a trail and a special app or watch that verifies your time and route. If you pioneer the route, then you will own the record — no matter how slow.

Grab the glory, it’s there for the taking.

As I suggested, Iowa has its benefits because very few runs have been entered here, unlike Colorado or California. You could do it as a walk and still come out first.

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Before derecho, I had my sights set on a record for Mount Trashmore. That time will come. But what else is out there?

Who’s done the most laps at Cedar Lake in one hour? It could be you.

Is the wild calling? Then enter a big loop from the Matsell Bridge Natural Area.

Feeling more foolish? Good. The Cedar Valley and Hoover Trails are inviting time and distance records. I’ve got a big idea for the former.

The organizing group for Fastest Known Times may not sanction some of the more inherently less gonzo routes in Iowa. That doesn’t mean we can’t sanction our own.

To that end, The Gazette sports department will be open for route submissions. Email your result to sports@thegazette.com and enter it in the Fastest Known Time website. After the submission phase, we’ll gather some of the submissions and visit the routes with a future story, just for fun.

You have until the end of the year to set our record. We can give COVID a new meaning. Celebrating Our Very Iowa Distances.

Looking up, looking ahead, and keeping my pencil sharp.

John Lawrence Hanson, Ed.D., of Marion teaches U.S. history with an emphasis on environmental issues at Linn-Mar High School and sits on the Linn County Conservation Board.

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