I've been out with the Inwood Hill Runners four times in the last few weeks: two Thursday night four mile loop runs and two Saturday long runs. Inwood Hill Runners is is a truly friendly and inviting group and today we were joined by Fernando, a runner I met on NYC Runs who came over the George Washington Bridge this morning from New Jersey for the run.
The club's was formed after Sarah Fox's murder in 2004. Sarah Fox was a Julliard student who lived on Isham street near the park. She was killed while running in the middle of the day in what seemed like a perfectly safe park. The community responded to her heartbreaking murder with sorrow, shock, and outrage. Inwood Hill Park patrons no longer felt safe on the park's winding hilly paths and demanded that the city do something to increase safety. After a town hall meeting adjourned without addressing their safety concerns, Tamara Ewoldt organized local runners for a return to the park. Thanks to Tamara, a wonderful community running club emerged out of tragedy. It's a club unlike any I've run with before and I am really glad it's part of our community.
Todays run was, apparently, a club standard: an east side/west side loop. As always, we started at the Isham entrance to Inwood Hill Park at Seaman Avenue. Alex led us south on Broadway to Dyckman, then east to Harlem River Drive. Unexpectedly, the riverfront path was totally unplowed and managed to be both powdery and icy and navigating the unsteady surface certainly worked the stabilizer muscles. We were passed by a small group running in the roadway to avoid the ice and snow; this is appealing until you consider the roadway is essentially a long highway exit ramp that was once the Harlem Speedway. Wagging one's finger may be unhelpful and unattractive, but I sure felt the urge.
After plodding through the snow and slush, we emerged at 155th and Edgecombe Ave, continued south to 145th, and turned right to run west to Riverbank State Park. Once we were through Riverbank, we took the staircase down to the pathway and followed it north to our starting point at Seaman and Isham. It was a satisfying, friendly morning. A much different vibe than I'll likely have before next Saturday's Manhattan Half Marathon.