For City Manager Graham Mitchell the adage ‘where the rubber meets the road’ has a whole new meaning.
Mitchell is part of the Lemon Grove HEAL Zone steering committee, an effort pushing to make Lemon Grove healthier. Last year, Mitchell was talking to fellow committee member Mark Stapleton who told him that he runs the city streets.
Stapleton documented his running experiences in a blog on Lemon Grove Patch.
“It really doesn’t take much to get outside and go around the block a few times,” Stapleton wrote. “The air is fresh, the breeze is nice, the sun is beautiful and your body, soul and mind will thank you. Who knows, you might meet a neighbor you’ve never seen before or run into an old friend you haven’t seen in a while.”
Stapleton’s running sparked something in Mitchell. The city manager decided to start jogging around town. He pulled out some zoning maps and went on his first run in mid August, he said.
“I was running a mile and half at a time until I got up to four or five miles,” Mitchell said.
About 45 runs later during a six-month period, he had jogged Lemon Grove’s 93 miles of streets, avenues, lanes, and drives.
“I got in shape in the process and got to know the Lemon Grove streets like I had never before,” he said.
Mitchell would chart his routes on maps in crayon and write down all of the data.
He said he was able to see the city in a whole new way and even lend a hand on occasion. He recalled stopping to help a resident change a tire during one run.
“There are a lot of streets with interesting character in Lemon Grove,” he said. “There are so many unique houses with beautiful landscaping.”