I’m one of those “show me new places” people when I run. I suppose that if I were a more serious runner, a competitive runner, a mile would be a mile. Running is running. I am not that person. Sure, I’ve run the same loops over and over, and compared times. I’ve done multiple loops down at the Marina like it’s a big track. But the scenery is nice there, or I wouldn’t bother. This is a benefit of being a slow runner: I don’t even have to stop to smell the roses. I go slow enough to take everything in.

I moved to a new community in July, centered outside a small city. Only a few miles from Sunbury, I am located very close to the center of Rockefeller Township. In fact, the intersection I see out my office window is known as Wolfs Crossroads. There are no restaurants (for now, this changes a lot) or grocery stores, and only a few businesses you can walk into off the street. Oddly enough, we do have a Roller Coaster manufacturer, which is AWESOME. And right down the road from that is the roadside produce stand where I also go for raw milk.

You’d look at us and say “rural” but my seminary training taught me that Nebraska is rural, Central Pennsylvania is “town and country.” You’re never more than 5-10 miles from some kind of town. Rockefeller Township is much more of a suburban lifestyle than rural. It’s a bedroom community for many. The homes are above-average in value. (I mean, it is named Rockefeller after all. – Still nothing like the place I visited for a private party gig in West Chester.)  But these are my early impressions, of course. I don’t know every corner of my township. That will change soon.

The goal: run every mile of public road in the township.

The timeline: Thanksgiving week until Disneyworld trip. (1/6)

I got off to a rough start, only running once before Thanksgiving, then suffering the fall that tore up my knee. This week I am finally on the road again. (Cue the Willy Nelson.)

According to this map,  there are 69 total miles of public road in the township. This does not count private roads and driveways. (I am especially happy for this as I passed Pheasant Run Road, a private road that goes straight up hill. Actually 80% of the public roads look the same.)

Take a look at that map. It’s not exactly a grid of squares. I have to be creative, or at least thoughtful in plotting out courses. If I am to cover all the mileage, I need to keep repeated sections and out-and-backs to a minimum. Even with the most efficient set up, this will require a lot of driving to a spot to leave my car, and having Meghan drive me to another spot. Today she dropped me off at township border and I ran home.

Hallowing Run Road

Hallowing Run Road

Just the little bit of out and back I did and the small repeat of last week’s route, added up to 1.07 miles. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but if I end up with that much “extra” each day, that 69 miles is going to look more like 90. As I am training for the Dopey Challenge (at least the first three days of it) this is not at all unreasonable.

I recommend every runner try something like this in their location, as long as it’s safe to run there. It’s amazing how many miles of road there are, even in a small, sparsely populated place. But I know many people have the experience of living in a place for many years, passing by signs for roads that they have never been down even once.

So as you see my facebook updated photos of a black and white map with different color sharpies lining it, that’s my Better Know a Township project coming together.

Today’s highlights:

The climb up Victor Road, northbound: ridiculous. Short, but ridiculous.

Horseshoe Bend Road: very very nice houses. We should trick-or-treat here.

Saw two Township border signs, starting at one, and hitting another on an out and back.

Either the map is off, or township border signs are not precise. Foye Road is listed as .25 from Comfort Road to the border. I got .33. I know Garmin’s aren’t perfect, but this was a pretty straight stretch and that is a large discrepancy. The road maintenance clearly changes right at that sign. It is now occurring to me as I make these notes that perhaps I missed my true calling as a surveyor. 

And yes, I stole the title of this project from Stephen Colbert. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Progress so far:




3 thoughts on “Better Know a Township: Filling the Map

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