Separated at Birth?

File this under “supremely wacky things that happened on the way to Hopkinton”:

If you’ve been paying even casual attention to my blog you’re probably vaguely familiar with my goal of running all 569-odd streets, byways and even highways in this fair city. Well, there’s gotta be something in the city water supply:  another runner concocted this same odd goal on his own. In the same month. While training for the same marathon. Kid you not. It gets weirder…but don’t take my word for it; read the article on the front page of today’s Metrowest Daily News: “Two marathon runners are in step in Marlborough“. (I’ve pasted the article’s text at the bottom of this post, in the event the link some day ceases to work.)

After you read the reporter’s account of this improbable insanity, check out the other runner’s blog about our first meeting. Gary describes our first chat as: “two overcharged Type A personalities being queried by local reporter who frantically scribbled notes in an attempt to keep up with full-combat conversation while trying figure out what makes pure wackiness tick.” Another fave line of mine from Gary’s post: “The goofy stories flowed. Now seriously, when is the last time you ever heard two people independently come to the conclusion that continuously spinning around at the ends of multitudes of cul-de-sacs starts to wear on your hip sockets?”

I’d write my own tome about the Meeting of the Minds, but Gary has done it justice, true to his Type A roots. I’ve only one nit–he omitted this: When we finally met (on the steps of the Daily News as we headed to the interview), Gary extended his hand for me to shake. I refused it, and went straight for the hug instead. After all, he’s got to be my long-lost twin. He claims to be 48, but I’m totally not buying it as I’m only 40. Separated at birth we had to have been, don’t you think? 😉

Keep running and keep laughing,


Two Marathon runners are in step in Marlborough
By Paul Crocetti/Daily News staff
MetroWest Daily News Posted Apr 03, 2011 @ 11:05 PM
MARLBOROUGH — Boston Marathon runners Gary Cattarin and Christine Johansen hadn’t met before Friday, but it turns out they share several striking similarities including the same unusual goal – to run every road in Marlborough.

Sitting at a table before a map of the city, Cattarin and Johansen swapped stories, musings and tips about the difficult task of covering all the pavement in Marlborough – an approximately 200-mile journey.

“You realize we’re reinforcing the whole idea that runners are insane,” Johansen, 40, told Cattarin, 48.

Cattarin and Johansen said they have received some strange looks from people who probably didn’t anticipate that anyone would want to train on their street.

The runners have learned some interesting tidbits about city roads. For example, the city has streets named Long, Short and Shorter.

“Long is actually shorter than Short and Shorter,” Johansen said with a laugh. “These are the things you think about on 21-mile runs.”

One of the problems is figuring out what’s a street and what’s a driveway. The runners have had to apologize on a few occasions.

Some streets on Johansen’s map don’t exist anymore, Cattarin pointed out.

And then there’s the issue of the highways that run through the city. Both runners said they would not run on the interstate without a police escort.

“You’ve got to earn the right to ask for something crazy like that,” Johansen said.

But they both wondered if that ordeal would be possible if they made a fundraiser out of it, even if it meant running the highway at 5 a.m.

One of Johansen’s biggest disappointments was losing a 14-mile run around the city because of a snowstorm. She ended up having to run loops around the high school.

“That’s a step up from running on a treadmill,” Cattarin joked.

There are more pleasing spots to run. Johansen said her favorite is by Fort Meadow Reservoir early in the morning while Cattarin said he likes the wooded area along Parmenter Road.

Cattarin said he once could not remember if he hit a certain road in the city. That road, he found out, is named Memory Lane.

The two Marlborough residents have discovered that they live near each other. Cattarin lives on Johansen Drive. Sound familiar?

“(The road) was named after my grandfather,” Johansen said.

Both of them work at home – for competing companies. Johansen works for Cisco Systems while Cattarin is employed with Avaya.

Both runners began their task of hitting every road in Marlborough in January. Johansen decided to include roads she knew she had hit since beginning her training in October.

Johansen, running her first Boston Marathon, said she was getting stressed out about her goal time and needed something to loosen her up. As she was putting away Christmas ornaments, she came across a map of Marlborough.

“I thought, ‘that’s it!”‘ said Johansen, who was on the cross country team at Marlborough High School but hasn’t raced since.

Cattarin has wanted to run 2,000 miles in a single year but embarked on the current task as a more feasible goal. He is shooting for his fifth Boston Marathon and 13th overall.

There are some other differences.

Johansen is running for a charity, raising money for the Children’s Hospital team while Cattarin qualified for Boston.

Cattarin has catalogued his runs on a Google map while Johansen has colored the roads she has collected on a paper version.

Johansen, who has run about 60 percent of the city’s roads, and Cattarin, who has hit about 80 percent, both said they don’t anticipate completing the task before the Marathon on April 18. But Johansen hopes to finish before she runs the Chicago Marathon in the fall and Cattarin wants to hit 100 percent before the Buffalo Marathon on Memorial Day weekend.

Cattarin said he has left some of Main Street because he wants to finish the goal in front of City Hall.

Johansen, wearing a new Boston Marathon jacket, plans to do some running with Cattarin’s running group, the Highland City Striders.

Before the two parted on Friday, the veteran marathoner offered the rookie a quick pep talk.

“You’re going to love Boston,” Cattarin told Johansen. “The crowd support is unbelievable.”

About garmin_girl

I'm a 40-something single mother of three--two great human girls and one four-legged Dalmatian banshee--who is hellbent on swimming, biking and running straight through my midlife crisis. Care to tag along? Crazy loves company! ;)
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2 Responses to Separated at Birth?

  1. LeAnne says:

    Not only is this great, but through the interview you undoubtedly brought some additional exposure to the cause you’re running for! Nicely done!

    • 🙂 thanks! It has definitely been fun! Irony: My coach, who lives on Gary’s street (the street named after my grandfather), posted the article on his Facebook wall today with the comment: “Got to love a high performance neighborhood. Gary lives a few houses away, and Christine is one of my athletes and lives down the street. I need to step it up :)”

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