AUSTIN, Texas —
Running is a lonely sport. To some, it may even be boring. It's an isolating experience, where finding a purpose is half the battle.
CC Rowe, an Austin triathlete and ultra-marathon runner, has found her purpose.
Even though her entire spring season was canceled – no 50-mile race in April, no 69-mile race in May – she continues to run.
Her running still has meaning.
“I run from house to house. I pick up an item, I run it to another house and I drop it off," she said. "What we’re going to do today is about a seven-mile loop where I have five pick-ups and seven drop-offs.”
Rowe calls them "Buy Nothing" runs, essentially a hyper-local swap meet that stems from an online group, the Buy Nothing Project.
She's been doing them for over a year, but they recently have taken on an added significance with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a way for people who are sheltering at home to stay home,” she said. “I have a few people that I make sure to hit every run as much as possible who are immunocompromised.”
Rowe's methods have the health of her at-risk neighbors in mind.
“I have gloves," she said. "I put them on before I pick up an item, I put the item in my backpack, I take the gloves off by peeling them, peeling them and then pulling them off so I’m not touching the outside.”
She said she'll make these runs three or four times a week, "Buy Nothing" runs that mean everything to her neighbors.
“There have been times where it’s 31 degrees and I don’t want to go for a run, but there are 10 people out there who want me, who are expecting me to do something. I don’t feel like I have a whole lot to give back to my neighborhood necessarily and so this is my ongoing constant gift,” she said.
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