My home—Gainesville, Florida—is the running capital of the South not because we are populated by the champions from all over the world who sneak down here to train. (They do. Ssshhhh … )
Not because hydration fluids were invented here and we are the home of Dr. Robert Cade and Gatorade. (We are.)
Not because we have the greatest running trails on the east coast. (We do.)
Not because we have the finest sports medicine experts in the country. (The docs all run.)
Here's the truth.
We dominate the sport of running because starting NOW, we are populated by squadrons of savage biting black flies and blood-sucking mosquitoes that leave giant welts … and worse. If runners are slow in Gainesville, we’ll be overtaken by merciless, winged tormentors. There’s a fine line between running and fleeing. So EVERYONE is fast. The minute you step outside the door, you gotta outrun these bad boys in order to preserve your health and sanity. Failure puts you firmly on the food chain. Suffering and disfigurement tend to be great motivators.
And as the Florida heat and humidity encourage blood-letting insectitude, the training gets better and better! By the end of summer, you’re either winning races or are in the care of a tropical diseases medical practice.
I know that I can sometimes sound like a one-runner Chamber of Commerce, extolling the fabulousness of Gainesville. Forgive a proud Floridian who loves the swamp with such passion that I cannot contain my enthusiasm for the virtues of training here.
If you’re interested in visiting and going on a run with us sometime, just let me know. You’ll love it here! I’ll load up on Calamine and Benadryl just in case you fall behind. (Does Nike make a Haz Mat suit???)