Running In Rome

So, I was challenged before I left the states. “Jim, you have to run in Rome!” Don’t think the thought hadn’t already crossed my mind. I was just wondering how safe it would be to run in a foreign country.

I ran in San Francisco in 2000 when I had just begun to run. I got up that early July morning and ran in the wind and rain of San Fran. I felt alive.

Somewhere between 2000-2009 I had forgotten how much running can connect you to a place and a time.

This afternoon I felt that urge to get up and go run. I didn’t know where--I just had the urge to do it. So, I started out from my hotel and turned right down the Via del Corso--one of the main avenues in Rome.

It was busy and crowded with people--so I had to be careful and dodge a couple of folks. Once I hit “The Wedding Cake”- a government building which is really a military memorial, I found an open spot and ran and ran freely--past the Roman Forum, the prison where Paul and Peter were kept, past Trajan’s Market, the Coliseum and the Arch of Victory. When I rounded the corner at the Palentine Hill, I had a choice to make, do I stop and enjoy or keep going.

I decided to keep going and headed south just around the Circus Maximum. Now--let me tell you that was tough because it’s all on an incline. Once I reached the half-way point of the CM--I noticed people were walking along the bottom of the area--so I decided to run the Circus Maximus.

The CM was a place of entertainment for the Romans and was the setting for many chariot races. Some say that there were as many as 300,000 people who watched games here.

I imagined that in my mind as I ran--”surrounded by so great a crowd of witnesses”--ok, there were three people watching me. But it was exciting.

I continued on up the Tiber River and headed into the Campo d’ Fioria area which is known for it’s night life and markets. After this I headed back to Piazza Novona where the artists sell their goods. I couldn’t help but think of my friend ,Randy Elrod ,and wish that he were here with me too. Randy is a Renaissance man and would enjoy it all here.

Back to the hotel I found my way back by instinct. In all I covered 4 Miles in a little under an hour. I think that’s better than my time at home.

I was listening to Travis Cottrell’s “JESUS SAVES” cd as a finished and realized that Paul and Peter came to this city to tell people about the Christ that saves. So many then and today still have a notion that they have to do for Christ in order to gain salvation and life--nothing could be further from the truth. Christ came to free us and give us life. More on that revelation in another blog.

So, tomorrow-I run again. Somewhere to the north (Piazza de Popolo (the plaza of the people) I’ll make a turn to the west and head to St. Peter. I wonder if the holy father will join me.

Mark it down--today I ran in Rome!