Spartanburg runner plans to run all the city streets, explore neighborhoods

Published by the Spartanburg Herald Journal; to view the full article, click here

A wet and snowy Friday morning didn’t stop Ned Barrett from lacing up his running shoes to run the whole of the Beaumont Village neighborhood as part of his goal for the year — to run on every street and trail in the city of Spartanburg.

“Running to me has always been a way to know the place where I live or where I’m visiting or where I’m passing through,” Barrett said. “I’ve always run around Spartanburg, and I feel like I know the city pretty well, but it turns out I’ve been on the edges of a lot of neighborhoods, and I’ve never been in the neighborhoods.”

Barrett, an outdoor enthusiast and Partners for Active Living’s trail coordinator, said this 2020 resolution was inspired by a similar running project by professional runner Rickey Gates who ran all the streets of San Francisco.

“It was inspiring and, according to him, there are over 100 of us who are doing this in other places,” Barrett said. Barrett knew of similar running projects in Zurich, Italy, Pittsburgh, and Orange County.

Barrett who has been running for about 35 years said that he’s wanted to try something like this for some time and finally decided to go for it in December. While Gates’ project encompassed over 1,000 miles of streets, Barrett said his undertaking was a little more modest, estimating that he’ll be running about 400 miles, taking backtracking into account. His run Friday was his nineteenth and he estimated that it would take him 75 or 80 more runs to finish.

Barrett has run about 85 miles so far in the South Converse and Converse Heights neighborhoods and estimates that by the end of the weekend he’ll have run 100 miles. Barrett said that even in the first few weeks, this challenge has led him to run through places in the city that he’d never been before.

“Recently I went to a neighborhood I’d never been in; didn’t even know existed over on the west side just to kind of see it. It’s behind St. Matthews. There’s like a cool ’70s neighborhood and then they come out the back where in the 2000s they built a bunch more houses.”

Barrett said he’s enjoyed seeing the different styles of architecture that abut each other in the city’s neighborhoods and the ways people personalize their homes. The most interesting thing he’s seen?

“Yards. People have some really cool yards,” Barrett said. “People that decorate their yards, or you know, really have something going on — like right behind us, there’s some hubcaps on that garage over there. I think people that dress up their yards have a really interesting approach to the world around them.”