Iowa Alumni Magazine | October 2006 | People

Blogger Jogger: Gary Jarvis

By Shelbi Thomas
What does a self-described "pretty average 40-year-old guy with occasional lower back pain and a doughy midsection" do when he moves to a new city?

Gary Jarvis Photo: Aaron Showalter/Daily News
Gary Jarvis has a long road ahaed of him to reach his goal of jogging every street in Brooklyn, New York, but the UI doctoral student says, "If I can handle an Iowa winter, I can handle anything."

Gary Jarvis jogs every last mile. After moving to Brooklyn in June, he decided to run all the streets in the New York borough—a journey that will take him two years and more than 1,600 miles.

"I run anyways, so this will keep me from getting too bored," says Jarvis, 99BA, 02MA, who tracks his progress at www.runsbrooklyn.blogspot.com. "I don't think there's a better way to get to know a place than on your feet."

This isn't Jarvis's first time running every mile of a particular locale. Last year, the UI Ph.D. candidate in history jogged all 300 miles of Iowa City. "By the time I was done, I felt like I knew Iowa City so well that you could blindfold me, dump me off somewhere, and I'd know where I was," says Jarvis.

Brooklyn is about 50 times larger than Iowa City, but that doesn't faze Jarvis. He jogs each weekday morning, averaging about 30 miles per week toward his goal. His blog entries, filled with photos and maps of his routes, have already captured the attention of two major New York newspapers and joggers nationwide.

Jarvis's runs take him past familiar sites like Coney Island, but he finds the unexpected landmarks most interesting. He's encountered ethnic enclaves, elaborate murals, and even a giant gold statue of an elephant hiding behind a corner. "People can live here for years and not see as much as I have in a [few weeks]," he says.

After he covers the streets of Brooklyn, Jarvis hopes to run every mile of Manhattan. He also has a hankering for familiar Midwestern territory.

"I miss Iowa City," says Jarvis. "I love what I've discovered here [in Brooklyn]—the streets, people, and neighborhoods—but a part of me will always be a Hawkeye."