Local runner explores city street by streetNov 09, 2021 11:05AM ● By Lindsey Baxter
Bryant Heath running the city streets of Salt Lake City. (Courtesy of Bryant Heath)
By Lindsey Baxter | [email protected]
Bryant Heath has worked hard to find new motivation during the past year and a half of Covid-19 isolation. He has created a following on Instagram by sharing his adventure of running all the city streets of Salt Lake cities.
Heath got the idea to start running all the streets from looking at Google Maps one night and noticing how little of Salt Lake City he had actually been to.
“Yes, I've driven most of the major roads—but all the side and residential streets were left mostly unexplored by me. Although I've lived in Salt Lake City for about a decade, I had only been to about 25% of the city which sounded crazy. So, I started estimating how many miles it would take to run all the streets and figured it would be about 100 miles a month or 25 miles a week, which is about the same number of miles I was averaging at the time. So, I made it my New Year's resolution to try to do it all in the 2020 calendar year. My first run was on Jan. 2 around Sugar House Park and, despite all the curveballs last year threw, I still managed to finish on Dec. 13 on a route over by the Salt Lake airport,” he said.
Heath didn’t start running until he was 18 and he started college in 2003. He wasn’t athletic growing up and noticed that during his freshman year he was becoming sedentary. He wanted to change from a couch potato to a more active person. He started to go for runs as a starting point, but ended up liking running so much, that he never bothered to try out any other sport.
Heath has been able to stick with running over the years but has changed what the goals are for his running. When he first started running, he was more concerned with his times, getting enough miles in, and building up to run races going from running 5k races to ultramarathons. As he has gotten older and recently had two young children, Heath is taking a more relaxed approach by going for a run anytime he has free time and runs at whatever pace feels comfortable.
When asked what was the longest run he’s ever done, Heath said, “I did the Antelope Island 50-mile race a few years ago where you, basically, run all the trails on the island. It was a fun experience as I had not really explored Antelope Island much before then. The race had it all: great views of the mountains, enjoyable terrain, and a few buffalo sightings along the way.”
Heath has found joy in road and trail running. “I go back and forth on all the time. Trail running is nice as it doesn't take much effort to reach spots where there are few people around and it's just you out there enjoying nature. With road running, it is a little more active as you are constantly on watch for vehicles and your own safety; however, you get to see a variety of interesting aspects that can only be found in the city.”
With 2020’s goal of running all the cities of Salt Lake City, what does that look like, how many miles has he run and what is the plan to continue? “I've ran the neighboring suburbs of Millcreek and South Salt Lake and am currently finishing up Holladay at the moment. I've been having such a fun time exploring different areas with all my running that I decided to kickstart a similar project a few months ago where I am running the entirety of a town in each of Utah's 29 counties. So, I've ran cities such as Fairview (Sanpete County), Wallsburg (Wasatch County), Goshen (Utah County), and Snowville (Box Elder County) as well. And with every run I always find something interesting and unique,” he said.
Heath’s biggest accomplishment was finishing out the 1,000 miles of Salt Lake streets late last year. “My last run was a few days after a snowstorm and I was running some streets by the Salt Lake City Airport, alongside the Airport Trail. When I finished up, I had my family, some friends and, much to my surprise, a film crew from a local news station capturing it all. It felt good finishing but it felt even better having people I care about there to see it,” he said.
Heath plans to continue exploring more places on foot. “If anything, this project has taught me it's that there are amazing things in every neighborhood,” he said.
For those feeling inspired to start running, Heath has some advice: “Running is a great activity to show the power of incremental progress. Nobody just wakes up on day one and casually runs a marathon or, in my case, runs all the streets in the city. It's something that you build up day by day and mile by mile. So early on, take it slow and don't run too much and gradually build yourself up. When you are starting out, the most important part is not necessarily how fast or how far you go but how consistently you stick to running. Like anything in life, if you have the dedication and put in the effort you will eventually be able to accomplish amazing things.”
To follow Heath’s running adventures, follow him on Instagram at @slsees. Heath posts a daily unique sight that he comes across from all his running.