I do most of my day to day running on the West Orange Trail in Central Florida, and most of the races I’ve done so far have been in that general neighborhood. There’s a lot to see there.
The Trail is a definite mish-mosh: you’ve got runners, walkers, bikers, recumbent bikers, stroller pushers, roller bladers, dog walkers. Kids who are just fooling around, some high school runners who most assuredly are not fooling around and an occasional homeless person. Colors, languages, personalities and levels of fitness are all over the place. Political affiliations? Probably a pretty good spectrum there too.
You start to see some familiar faces after a while. There are varying degrees of greeting and interaction. Some folks have a hearty howdy for you, some just manage a grunt or a wave depending on how badly they’re kicking their own butts at the moment.
One elderly gentleman doesn’t run at all. He sits in a chair next to his house, which abuts the trail, and offers helpful commentary.
Some folks are totally intent and they don’t look up, period. The Bicycle People ™ travel in packs, and they greet runners by shouting “on your left!” This can be translated to mean, “get out of the way, or we’ll run you down like a herd of wildebeest on wheels.”
Can a path through the woods be a community? I’d bet that if you got all those people together in a room, different as they all are, it would be a mighty sweet party. Or a mighty sweaty party! See you there.