15 within 15: Running River to River in Philly

The author takes a 10 mile run across Philly, laying eyes on the Delaware and Schuylkill, and reflecting on city life.

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge as seen from Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown, Philadelphia, on May 15, 2020. [Photo: Kyle Bagenstose]

By Kyle Bagenstose

15 minutes.

That’s the driving distance limit still being championed for outdoor recreation under the novel coronavirus, by entities such as the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The idea is to stay near home and limit the spread of the disease by decreasing community-to-community infection. But it’s a tough pill to swallow. Those not blessed to be immediately adjacent to their favorite recreational spots might not have much recreational opportunity within a quarter of an hour. I know it’s put my plans on hold: a guys’ trip to the Poconos in early May was cancelled, planned visits to new state parks in northwest and southwest Pennsylvania are delayed, and a goal to visit Acadia National Park by the end of the year is up in the air.

Nevermind my usual trips from Philly to campgrounds like French Creek and trail networks like Hawk Mountain.

But, I’ve decided to give it a go. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to do 15 outdoor activities within 15 minutes (maybe a few extra depending on the red lights!) to see how it feels. I’m trying to approach this with what some call “beginner’s mind.” Looking carefully for nature and taking it slow in places I may have only sped through before. But I also plan to turn it up a notch from time to time: Can I get my vigorous exercise and strenuous accomplishment kicks within 15 minutes of home?

We’ll see.

Activity 5: Running river to river through Philly

I used to hate running. Like, only a little over a year ago.

Wrestling was my sport through school, and when I dabbled in others it was usually something more dynamic and head-to-head. Running was always a chore, something coaches would force you to do at practice as a part of getting in better shape for the real competition.

Believe it or not, that all changed with a wristwatch. I received one with GPS-functionality as a birthday gift, with the idea I’d use it for hiking and backpacking, to keep track of my mileage and my location. Then one day I used it for one of the rare, short runs I’d do just for the hell of it. I was curious about how quickly I could do a mile or two.

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