Cross Country’s Joseph Walewski ’23 sets out to run every street in his hometown
When Conn went fully remote in March, cross country runner Joseph Walewski ’23 realized he’d have to trade workouts with his team on campus for solo runs around his hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut. Worried that his well-worn high school routes would quickly become repetitive, Walewski devised a challenge for himself: run every single road in town.
“Even though I’ve been GPS logging runs in the town for over five years, I’d actually only run 20% of the road network previously,” he said.
Walewski is used to running in the southern, more densely populated part of town (he’s run one route that leads to the beach exactly 160 times), but his challenge means tackling every backroad, side road and dead end—all 292 miles of Fairfield’s 1,125 public streets.
“I can certainly say I would’ve never done an 18-mile run otherwise (especially since the schedule only said 15 on that day). While it makes fitting in workouts (speed training) more difficult, the challenge is an excellent motivator for running high mileage, which is exactly what summer training is all about,” Walewski said.
Walewski measures his running volume on a weekly basis to account for the daily variation—some days are harder or longer and some days are recovery days—but in the last month he’s averaged 61 miles a week, or 8.7 miles per day.
That hard work has paid off; Walewski has now run 85% of Fairfield’s road network. He expects to complete the challenge by August 15.
“I’ve really enjoyed this challenge and getting to know a place much more intimately than I ever did, despite living here my whole life,” he said.
“I hope my story can inspire others to try something they would’ve never considered before.”
Walewski, who plans to major in either biochemistry or biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, says he has considered repeating the challenge in New London once he returns to campus.
“I’ve thought about that a lot. Especially since New London is 1/6 the area, I think it’s very feasible,” he said.
But, as much as he’s enjoyed the challenge, he’s looking forward to the camaraderie of his Conn teammates.
Ultimately, he says, “While I’m on campus, I want to run with the rest of the team.”