Sneakers, park and a city that is waking up

It is 7 am. I am still sleeping in my tiny hotel room in the heart of Rome. I hear the sound of the alarm clock and slowly start to open my eyes. I meet the sunrays sticking through the window and know that it is a beautiful Monday morning. The city has already woken up and ready for the beginning of the new week. You can hear the noise from the street…. cars, scooters and people passing on the street below my window. The sense of energy is in the air….

I am smiling and tell to myself that I am on holiday – I can take it easy, continue to sleep if I want and take my time to eat the breakfast…. But, for some reason, I want to wake up. I want to put my sneakers, shorts and t-shirt on and head towards Villa Borghese, the huge park in the middle of Rome.

I five minutes I am already running through the Piazza del Popolo, seeing well-dressed business people rushing to work and some other morning runners giving a smile and saying ”buongiorno” to this brave runner…. I continue my run uphill towards the park, along the road with switchbacks and no sidewalks. After had heard several honks and seen some happy grins through the car windows I am finally there – in the beautiful park of Villa Borghese. And I am already satisfied that I woke up and chose the morning run.

It is still early but the park is full of morning runners like me. It is like a small community of like-minded people who meet each other from morning to morning in the same place. Every once in a while someone passing is wishing me good morning and continues running with a happy smile on his/her face.

It is actually quite funny and strange but absolutely great that in some way you create connection with people you don’t even know or with whom you do not even talk. The only connection is the love for the morning run.

When I worked in Rome I used to go running in the park of Villa Ada several times every week. Every Saturday morning I met the same group of older men in their 60s who always run in the opposite direction than I. Every time I went running Saturday morning I knew I would meet this brilliant group of old athletes….I couldn’t do anything else than laugh to their funny greetings and how they encouraged me to run faster and faster.

A park in the morning – what kind of place it is? For me it is a place where you can feel the fresh air, admire the beautiful nature, meet like-minded people and above all, absorb a huge amount of positive energy and attitude for the rest of the day.
When I travelled to New York this summer, one of the things in my to-do list was a morning run in Central Park. And I did it – without the grey hoodie and headphones though… So, when you do a morning run, you also familiarize yourself with the small micro community in the city. I do not always go running because I tried to keep myself in a good condition but because it is a habit and it is a way to get good energy for the day.

So – that is why the morning runs in Rome and New York are among the ten best travel memories of my summer 2012.


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