Minden Press-Herald

Sep 19th

Running Paths are for Exercise, Not Parking

150224 281499512004355 2033202032 nThis is one of those "This is why we can't have nice things" kind of columns.

The reason this time – lazy people. I'm calling out the fans of the kids playing on the back fields of the Minden Recreation Complex.

Let me rewind a bit. I knew when I left the Shreveport area, one of the main things I would miss is the running path along Clyde Fant Parkway. Well lit, marked, several miles long, limited to pedestrian/bicycle traffic only, I could run any distance, anytime with my noise cancelling headphones with (mostly) no worries of getting hit by a crazy driver. The therapy of asphalt pounding.

Not so much the case in Minden. I started making laps around downtown, but there are alleys, speeding drivers, drivers who don't pay attention to pedestrian crossings... It was just a matter of time before someone was writing a news story about me.

Then I had the "aha" moment – there's a multi-million recreation complex right around the corner. How had I forgotten the running path encircling the dozen or so fields that I had written about so many times in the past?

My first outing was Tuesday evening. There was a softball game in the back quadrant of fields. My first thought was – "Those poor kids. There's no one there to cheer for them." After all, there were no cars in the parking lot.

I rounded the fields on the east side, following the path across the end of the parking lot to between the back two fields.

And found where the fans were parked.

I first nearly tripped into a muddy crater of busted asphalt, obviously caused by too much vehicle traffic on a pedestrian path. Then I was nearly backed over – twice – because there are no designated spaces or lanes for vehicles.

Those incidents I can forgive. Who wants to actually get a little bit of exercise at a recreation complex by walking across a parking lot when they're only there as spectators? I mean, 50 yards is a really, really, excruciatingly long way to walk after a stressful day of work.

It was after making it through softball-mom-parking-gauntlet, that I became rather irritated. It was the (insert expletive of choice) in a gray Chevy pick-up following me. On the running path.

On my right-of-way. He eventually veered onto the grass and sped away.

You, Mr. Chevy, are why we can't have nice things. You, Mom-too-Lazy-to-Walk-Across-the-Parking-Lot, are why we can't have nice things. You, Man-who-Blocks-Everyone-Else-In, are why we can't have nice things.

Now, I know we're a little redneck in north Louisiana and are accustomed to making our own parking spaces should the need arise. But there are dozens of painted spaces on asphalt.

I write this as a person who gets up at 4:30 a.m. to hit the gym then runs several miles a day after work – park in the parking lot and walk, the exercise will probably do you good.

Kristi Martin is an award winning journalist and reporter for the Press-Herald. Connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @WrittenNRed.






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