Ultrarunner Rickey Gates gained a new perspective on San Francisco by running every street

Gates, an accomplished mountain and trail runner, had an idea to run every street of his home city, San Francisco.

In a 49 square-mile area, that amounted to 1,100 miles of pavement. He did it in 46 days, averaging just over 28 miles a day, as he had to double up on some streets due to necessity or cul de sacs.

“There is really no way to prepare yourself for ‘this is going to take 36 miles and you’re going to be in this neighbourhood all day’ – and that is the point,” he said in a beautifully shot short film put together by his sponsors Salomon.

He later adds that the people he met along the way and confronting the challenge of being surrounded by people – and you see that he met as wide a demographic as you would imagine in a cosmopolitan city with a mammoth wealth division – “gave me a whole new depth of what empathy is, to try and treat everybody with the same importance”.

The cynic may say he was well looked after with gear, time and other resources by his sponsor – that his is a privileged view of the melting pot of city life.

But we could also see that Gates was touched by the people he met and things he saw. And that, you feel, was his point.

posted Tuesday March 12th