After 4 years and 3,000 km, man runs every street in Saskatoon
Troy Harkness isn't stopping, now mapping his runs on gravel roads outside the city
It took four years, but a Saskatoon man has now run every street in the city.
He also covered every alley and path as well — a grand total of more than 3,000 kilometres.
"I'm a project-oriented kind of guy," said Troy Harkness with a laugh.
The 53-year-old wasn't raising money or seeking publicity (he only agreed to an interview after a friend notified CBC News). Nor was he trying to cross an item off his bucket list. He said after nearly three decades of running, he was simply looking for motivation to stay fit.
"I like different things. I like a challenge. I like the different routes. I get tired of running the same thing all the time," Hakness said. "Actually It wasn't that difficult."
He began from his home in the Lawson Heights neighbourhood, often joining his wife, Terra Arnason. The night before runs, he'd check the map, looking for an interesting route of 10 to 20 kilometres.
Soon, he ran out of nearby routes. Through rain, snow, wind and extreme temperatures, he'd drive to other spots several times per week. He mapped everything online, gradually turning each street on the screen from blue to red.
"I probably drove two or three thousand kilometres. I know the city pretty well," he said with a laugh.
He said he was stopped by police a few times, wondering what he was doing. He was also stopped several times by landowners after unintentionally wandering onto private roads.
"I was in areas I shouldn't have been. I explained what I was doing and they were then more pleasant," he said.
Harkness said he enjoyed the old homes and tree canopies in Nutana, City Park and other older neighbourhoods. He said Saskatoon residents should also be grateful to have the Meewasin Trail to run, bike or walk for dozens of kilometres on either side of the river.
But Harkness said some of his favourite runs were through Riversdale, Pleasant Hill and other core areas. There were more people on the streets socializing, and many of them cheered or greeted him as he passed.
"There were always people out, very friendly and yelling 'Hi,'" he said.
For the last segment of Harkness's journey there was no band playing, no finish line tape to break. His wife came to watch him run the final block downtown on Avenue C North near 23rd Street.
He thought he was done, but realized he hadn't turned on his phone's mapping app. He walked back to the end of the block and ran it again.
"I stopped running. It was silent for a bit and then she said 'You did it! Now what?" Harkness said.
At that point, Harkness didn't want to think about more running goals.
"I said 'Let's go for a drink,'" he said.
He didn't rest for long. Harkness is already running and mapping the grid roads and secondary highways in the Rural Municipality of Corman Park that surrounds Saskatoon. He'd also like to hit the streets of Martensville, Clavet, Aberdeen and other nearby communities.
"My plan is to do all those, too," he said.
Harkness turns 54 years old on Sunday, and plans to celebrate with a longer than usual effort, perhaps 27 kilometres.
"This all feels like an adventure."