No better way to see a city than by running it.

No better way to see a city than by running it.

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posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

On August 10th, Nike Global Running Head Coach Chris Bennett tweeted that there was “no better way to see a city than by running it.” Waterloo is no exception and it’s not just true for visitors but to people like me who’ve lived in the Cedar Valley for quite a while.

My name is Tyler Vincent and I have lived in the Cedar Valley continuously since 2003. Yet since taking up running last year, I’ve discovered how accurate Bennett’s words were. I had not experienced the miles of unique and wonderful scene on the trails because of my weight. The tipping point came last year when we received our wedding pictures in the mail and I could not tolerate the way my 350 lbs pound self-looked. Soon after that I began walking and running en route to losing over 100 lbs. From there I discovered the beauty of our trails and took to loving them so much that I run them four times per week in preparation for my first marathon, the IMT Des Moines Marathon on Oct. 20th.

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To help prepare for this formidable 26.2 mile adventure, I am using the book “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer” by David Whitsett, Forrest A. Dolgener, and Tanjala Mabon Kole, based on their University or Northern Iowa seminar course known as “the marathon class.” With 65 days to go until the marathon, I arrived at Week 7 of training. Today called for a four-mile run and I decided to start near Riverfront Stadium at Exchange Park and head towards downtown.

Two miles out and two miles back.

It was a gorgeous run. Not only was the trail well-kept but it provided some beautiful imagery. Coming out of Cedar River Park, the Cedar River appears out of trees flowing toward downtown Waterloo. Beginning at East Mullan Avenue, the trail hugs the river for extended lengths. I couldn’t help but think that this stretch of trail would be perfect for the out of town visitor staying in one of the downtown hotels who wishes to keep up a walking, biking, kayaking or running regimen during their visit- weather permitting.

Another thought that crossed my mind was baseball. Perhaps it was my proximity to Riverfront Stadium, the home of the Waterloo Bucks, a collegiate baseball team in the Northwoods League. Perhaps it was last week’s announcement that the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox will play a regular season baseball game at the site of the legendary Field of Dreams site in Dyersville (about 1 hour from Waterloo). Whatever it was, baseball was on my mind as continued south down the trail. It was driven home when I got to the railroad tracks past East 6th Street.

According to Lawrence S. Ritter’s masterpiece “The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It,” Richard “Rube” Marquard, all of sixteen-years-old when he arrived in Waterloo in 1906, from his home in Cleveland, Ohio for a chance to try out with the Waterloo baseball team in the Iowa State League. According to Marquard, he arrived in town at the Illinois Central Station after three days of illegally riding the rails, hitchhiking and sleeping in open fields.

The Waterloo Manager allowed him to start as a left-handed pitcher against the team from Keokuk. Marquard led the team to a 6-1 win. However, the manager did not pay him for his efforts so he headed back to Cleveland.

Rube Marquard eventually found his way into the big leagues where he had a Hall of Fame career with the New York Giants.

Could these have been the rails that brought him into town? And even though he was a hall-of-famer and I am just one of many runners chasing a grandiose dream of completing a marathon at 41, was the same animating zeitgeist driving us?

Our dreams can cause us to do strange and incredible things, I thought to myself as I headed back north to Riverfront Stadium after the two-mile turn around. It was the last thought I had as I pulled up next to the stadium to take a picture from my car to possibly use in this blog.  

As I pulled up, I saw a young man in a Bucks dry-fit outside the stadium. I assume he was one of the players. He bent over to pick up a baseball that was more than likely hit on a foul tip and flew outside the stadium. Maybe he was a local. Maybe he travelled here from a distance like Marquard to pursue his dream. Even though he was a young man in twice as good of shape as I was (and half my age to boot), it seemed to me that, in our own peculiar ways, we were the same type of person.

Written by Tyler Vincent, guest blogger and runner

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