Run & Click – Communist Warsaw

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Sometimes we take for granted the wonders that surround us. Passing by them, day by day, they become part of the background scenery like so many grey cubicle walls or maybe the framed motivational poster of a mountain with a quote about “Inspiration” at the bottom. I wanted to create a social running group that could explore local treasures, running at an easy pace so that participants could both share their views of these iconic landmarks and gain new perspectives from the other runners. Along the way, we take breaks to capture to moment and catch our breath for more running and conversation. Local, Tourist, Transplant, Expat – all bring something new to the experience.

Success!

On Wednesday, August 7th, we held our first Run and Click with a local, a transplant, and an expat. The run was completed. Conversation was had. Photos were taken. Laughter and sweat were doled out in equal amounts. We had many great suggestions and lessons learned for the next event. I had already changed the name from Run & “Shoot” – Communist Warsaw, which may have scared some people into thinking we were going to be hunting Communists. Run & Click has the double meaning of a camera and when the runners “click” with the things they have in common. We’ll move the next run to a more amiable time and be more specific and consistant with out photo breaks. Also we can invite some photographers who might want to capture runners in the city, but not necessarily run themselves. Hopefully we can partner with a bar for beverages afterwards.

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For our run, I used the Communist Trail map from Warsaw In Your Pocket, however we ran the trail in reverse and started at a classic piece of Communist era architechture – Warsaw Centralna. Hailed as a masterpiece of Polish modernism, the building was rushed through construction to be a showpiece for a 1975 visit from Leonid Brezhnev. We circled around the building, ran along the backside of Zloty Terasy, and ran directly into a great view of the Palace of Culture (PoC) highlighted by the setting sun. Our first stop was by the fountain on the northside of the PoC where we tried some running photos, but the runners were too fast and my camera was too slow!

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After our break, we ran along the East Wall and down into the area of the Centrum Metro they call “The Frying Pan”. Construction in the parking lot area and around the Rotunda prohibited clear photography but it’s still interesting to see how the older buildings have been adapted to modern businesses.

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After navigating the underground passages and coming back up into the light, we continued to run along Marzalkowska St. with its wide variety of architecture until we got to the grand square of Plac Konstytucji. Custom designed for state parades, there was no tickertape descending from the windows as we paused to capture the worker reliefs, the dramatic columns and corridors and giant trident street lamps.

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At Plac Zwbawiciela we took a sharp left on Mokowtowska headed to monolithic government buildings on Krucza, passing by classic “milk bars” and newer restaurants occupied by hipsters. The streets and the sidewalks were tighter forcing more communication among the runners while dealing with pedestrians.

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A final turn on Nowogrodzka allowed us to run by The Free Speech Monument in front of the former Department of Censorship, a very dramatic sculpture that takes up most of the plaza.  The end of that street empties out onto a view of the Central Committee  of the Polish United Workers and it’s imposing architecture, now decorated by branding signs and chic glass encased bars and eateries, some nice venues to sit back and have a cold drink after the run.

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Stopping short of Nowy Swiat, we discussed the next run being either a Royal Run visiting some of the old royalty landmarks or a Warsaw Uprising Run. We will repeat the Communist Run on one of the weekends this fall. Let us know which run you would be most interested in!

 

 

The Big Move – Warsaw, Poland


What has Derek done now?!?! I did release a video on this and wrote a long heartfelt message on Facebook, but I may have convoluted too much information and confused people. The big news is that I’ve moved to Poland, not just for a couple weeks or months, but for possibly up to three years. Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Why Poland?

Poland is a beautiful country with wonderful people and traditions.  The cost of living here is very low for Europe, so my dollar goes farther. It’s not too hot here, so I shouldn’t melt as I would in many other countries. Poland gives me easy access to European countries in the East and the West. As a member of the EU, living here while starting a business may make other opportunities available in the future. Warsaw, in particular has some additional benefits. A great airport with many low cost carriers to get me all around Europe affordably.  It has lots of green space, parks, forest, trails, and paths for running.  There are a number of communities that I look forward to joining in this city.  There are many helpful expatriates here.  I have a supportive group of friends and acquaintances here as well as one of my best friends who I have known for 27 years. In the uncomfortable position of moving to another country where I don’t know the language, this may be as comfortable as I can get.

What are you going to do in Warsaw?

Two years ago, with a little bit of savings, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to afford traveling around the US.  With some penny pinching and more than a little help from my friends, I saw all fifty states, survived the worst months of a New England winter and traveled to 12 European countries.  Some bills need to be paid.  I will be teaching English to make ends meet and to start saving for future endeavors.  I will finish the book I’ve been writing about my 50/50/50 journey.  I will continue to work on my International Race Series concept but I am now working on another running opportunity as well.

Are you still running Marathons?

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I injured myself in the first European marathon I did in Milan.  I then ran seven more races on that injury.  Even as I was resting and recovering,  it could be argued that I was still running too much. I took some time off from running this summer and have been slowly rebuilding my body. I’m hoping that being in one place will help me get my training regiment back on par. Expect to see an aggressive European Marathon plan in place for 2018.

What’s with settling down in one place?  I thought a rolling stone gathers no moss?!?!

I will still be traveling a lot.  The aforementioned airport here in Warsaw was one of the big draws for me and bus prices are still low around Europe. Considering how much of my heart still lies in the Kennebec Valley, I think of there as home and my Polish move as part of my larger travels.  Expect to see frequent travel updates in the months to come with both personal excursions as well as potential business trips.

 

I hope this answers the majority of questions.  Something I didn’t cover? Feel free to ask in the comments down below!