It took around 9 months, 186 runs, and 2,425 miles for Jarad Schofer to successfully traverse all of DC’s public streets and alleys.
Schofer ran the final mile of the project on Saturday with a quick spurt around the Logan Circle neighborhood, where the project began last August. He was flanked—at a Covid-friendly distance—by several friends. One of them was jingling a cowbell. For his final street, he jogged up Vermont Avenue NW and finished at Logan Circle to applause from about 15 cheering onlookers.
“Do you have any advice?” one of them asked.
“Yeah, don’t do it,” Schofer replied, beaming.
Schofer is a math teacher at St. Albans School by day and often thinks of the project in terms of a math problem. By his calculations, the project required running the equivalent of four plus assents to Mount Everest, often in 20-30 mile spurts. The accumulated time he’s spent running adds up to 20 full days.
We last caught up with Schofer in February. He was about halfway through the project and Covid-19 had not yet brought America to a halt. At the time, he imagined the finish line quite differently: His pie-in-the-sky dream was to finish his last street alongside President Obama in front of his Kalorama residence—where he had been denied running before by security. This brings up a technicality with the claim “every single street”: not all streets are public. Military bases and other government properties are closed to the public and some gated neighborhoods denied him entry. On top of that, some parks were closed at the onset of the pandemic. But, Schofer says he ran as many streets as he possibly could.
“This thing needed to end,” Schofer said. “I probably could have stared at my map for hours.”
Now, DC is in its third month of lockdown and nearly all running events for the foreseeable future are cancelled. Many of the folks gathered were from Schofer’s running group, hosted by the 14th Street Pacers Running store location.
“This is probably the only Pacers event of the past three months,” someone in the crowd remarked.
Though DC races have been put on hold, the seven-day ultramarathon Schofer plans to run in Tennessee next month is still on. And he’s not finished training for it yet. Most of those runs, though, will be in Maryland and Virginia—he’s understandably a bit tired of running in the District.
This project has given him the sense that his runs need to have a purpose, so he’s taken to smaller challenges. Recently, he ran the width of DC. To celebrate the graduation of his students at St. Albans, he spelled out a message of congratulations with his route.
Over the course of this project, Schofer learned a mundane fact that suddenly became a defining factor in his life: DC has a ton of alleys. CityStrides, the app Schofer used to track his progress, estimates that DC has 2,023 public streets, but the number of alleys is unknown.
“It’d be fine to do the streets but I think the alleys—that was just craziness,” Schofer says. “I didn’t realize how crazy it was until I was already too deep in, and I just didn’t want to stop.”
As in February, his favorite part of the project was still exploring sites of DC he wouldn’t normally encounter, most notably the murals. Schofer’s friend, Paul Piting ran the last mile with him, and says he’s enjoyed seeing the prohject through his friend’s eyes. Much of the project was documented on Schofer’s Instagram page and followed by local runners and others completing the #EverySingleStreet project in other cities.
Oh yeah, and in addition to running every street in DC, Schofer got married this month.
His wife, Maiko Nakagaki said Schofer’s long runs have given her time to be alone in the midst of quarantine—especially when he runs 20-30 miles on Sundays.
“I know it sounds kind of bad,” Nakagaki said. “But we’ve been stuck during Covid, so it’s actually been great.”
After his ultramarathon in July, Schofer is already planning his next big project: He’ll attempt to run across the country—yes, the whole country—next spring.
“I feel like there’s a big weight off my shoulders but it’s a little bittersweet because I enjoyed it so much,” Schofer said