A Good Run is Hard to Find

While some people go back home for a favorite meal, I go for my favorite run.

After nearly two decades bringing my sneakers with me everywhere I’ve lived—to neighboring states and overseas—I have found there’s nothing quite like a run through my hometown of Ramsey.

Close to the Ramapo Mountains, Ramsey has everything a runner could ask for: hills for revving up, flats for cooling down, wooded paths for exploring and open fields for catching a few rays.

I started appreciating all that Ramsey has to offer when I bought my first pair of running sneakers at age 13. It didn’t take too many runs before I was hooked. I couldn’t go a day without a run. Then I enrolled at a college in central Pennsylvania. Running in farm country, the scent of manure nearly stopped me in my track shoes. I persevered, running past farm after farm on one long flat boring road after long flat boring road. And frankly, the way the cows and horses sometimes looked at me made me nervous that I might trigger a latent chase instinct.

In southern Spain, where I spent a spring semester, the scenery was better, but the air was hot and dry. People stared at me as I went by; in Spain, exercising in public is not the norm. In Germany, where I lived after graduation, the sky was often dark and dreary, and I couldn’t seem to find my rhythm.

When I got married, I moved to Hoboken. While I love the town, I do not love running one block at a time. All the stop-and-go took its toll, and after stopping short to avoid a cop car parked on the sidewalk, my hamstrings—and my running—have never been the same. Running along the waterfront might be a great alternative, if it weren’t for all the smokers.

But I have not given up. I finally returned to the suburbs, this time to Essex County. I have not gone on a run yet, but my hopes are high. I have my eye on Brookdale Park, but I know, no matter what, it just won’t be the same. Whether it’s the terrain or the nostalgia or the fact that there was (and usually still is) a home-cooked meal waiting at the end, my run in Ramsey is hard to beat.

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