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Run your city // Run in the dark

Cours ta ville // Courir dans le noir
- Photos by Kevin Lynch

On the banks of the Saint-Charles River, the gravel track is hard. Compacted by use and petrified by frost. Under the beams of the streetlights, your breath is visible. A trail of vapor that you leave in your wake.
The wind died down with the sun. The lights of the Rothmans water tower come on as the sky turns indigo. The river has become a mirror that shows you the city upside down.
You go back towards Saint-Sauveur, guided by the strings of street lamps and their yellow halos. The sodium lamps of Victoria Park make the grass of the soccer field where two amateur teams compete, but the sound of the game is muffled by the rumble of skateboard wheels in the nearby park.
You plunge into the dark, past the basketball court. You turn on your headlamp. When night falls, the city is yours. Pedestrians are rare. The cars disappeared. The rumor of the town has become reassuring. So many people around you and yet you barely see anyone. The only witnesses to this presence? The distant hiss of the great arteries. The smells of food and antistatic emitted by the air outlets of stove fans and dryers.
You like running knowing you're surrounded by these people. In your city.
You run without a specific route. These streets are more familiar to you than the lines on your hand. You borrow one or the other according to your desire. You return to the east via Saint-Vallier. Its sidewalks belong to you. A few early revelers emerge from a neighborhood bar. Others, further away, from a microbrewery. You are about to take Saint-Joseph when you realize that the upper town is staring at you. Majestic. Almost disturbing, with its magnificent buildings standing guard.
The slight pain you had in your foot is gone. Your stride is nimble. Your strides lengthen as you begin the last kilometers that separate you from your arrival point. You perceive pieces of conversations, fragments of life. You see people through their windows. This is how they exist, in parallel with you. Running allows you to have access to who they are. Their happiness. Their misery. Their daily.
Even solo, running is a social exercise. It puts you in contact with the world. You find there the sound of your breathing at the same time as the breath of your city.