The first person to record running every street in Victoria on the open-data City Strides app has now added Oak Bay to his resume.
Esquimalt is next, says 55-year-old James Wanless.
The James Bay resident is a former marathon runner who also rode long-distance cycling events, such as the one-day Victoria Gran Fondo (270 kilometres) and the Ride to Survive (400 kilometres) from Kelowna to Delta.
He and his wife relocated to Victoria last year after living in Vancouver. Running each street has allowed him to see a lot of the city in a short time.
“Besides the obvious, you really see a lot of neat things that you wouldn’t have,” Wanless said. “There’s also a lot of boring stretches. I have to say that, but of course, a lot of Victoria is very beautiful.”
While living in Vancouver, Wanless became interested in the City Strides app, which uses the data from Strava accounts (a fitness app) to map every street users run on. It can also tell the user what percentage of a given city’s streets they have run on.
“After years of training blocks and hills training I started picking up some injuries,” Wanless said. “This has been a good way to stay motivated and keep exercising, especially when it’s dark out most of the day.”
According to City Strides, Wanless has run 100 per cent of Victoria’s 509 streets and 100 per cent of Oak Bay’s 216 streets. At 94.11 per cent, Wanless has run the third-highest amount of Vancouver’s 1,155 streets compared to other users, behind Colin Brander with 98.08 per cent and the leader, David Papineau, who is up to 99.91 per cent.
While Strava will record running (walking), biking, and swimming, City Strides will only use walk/run data from a user’s Strava account.)
“It’s difficult to complete those last few streets because it includes roads in places like the Musqueam First Nation or Port of Vancouver,” Wanless said.
Musqueam First Nation lands aren’t public and for security reasons, the Port of Vancouver blocks access to roads that are otherwise considered public.
However, all of Victoria and Oak Bay were achievable, and Wanless is the only user on City Striders to complete either.
Wanless has one piece of advice about Oak Bay he especially wants to share.
“Don’t run in Uplands at night. There’s no light on the sidewalks. I don’t know what the point of those old-style lamps are, they don’t light up the sidewalk and if you step onto the road you face traffic.”
Wanless will now complete Esquimalt before he and his wife move out for an extended travelling trip next month.