A Rock Island web developer wanted a new way to train this season for his long-distance runs.
So, Dave Rogers reverted to the basics — what he knows best.
He combined his passion for data crunching and digital technology with running and developed #runRockIsland, a project that will take him to every corner of the city he’s forever called home.
The 42-year-old, who sports a grizzly beard, plans to hit every mile of roadway in Rock Island, excluding alleyways, by the end of the year.
“Wherever the plows go, that’s where I’m going,” Rogers said during a run in Monday’s 80-degree weather.
According to the city’s website, the public works department maintains a total of 154 miles of streets, which break down to:
• 87 miles of concrete streets
• 61 miles of asphalt streets
• 6 miles of brick streets
Although Rogers has lived in Rock Island for “90 percent” of his life, he hasn’t explored “the edges” of town on foot.
To keep it challenging, he starts every outing in the parking lot at Trinity College of Nursing, 2122 25th Ave., and will share on social media what he crosses in his path.
“I haven’t seen anything real strange yet,” he said.
He estimates he’ll have to run about 400 miles to cover every stretch of pavement, including cul-de-sacs and dead end streets.
“It’d be real easy to drive out some place and run around the block, but it’s not going to give me the training I need,” Rogers said.
He wants to run the Quad-Cities Marathon in September and finish a 100-miler next year. He hopes the campaign will keep him motivated.
"Training kind of sucks," he said. "You go out your door and you run the exact same thing you've ran the last six weeks. I wanted something that would make it interesting."
Chris Rogers, Dave’s supportive younger brother and a lieutenant for the Rock Island Fire Department, has offered navigational assistance to make sure his sibling safely hits all the “obscure” spots.
For example, “There are roads along the Rock River a lot of people don’t realize are there,” said Chris Rogers, who is proud of his older brother. “He keeps challenging himself, and by the end of this, he’ll have some bragging rights.”
As of Tuesday, Rogers had logged 19.4 miles, with assistance from RunGo, a mobile app that supplies turn-by-turn voice navigation. Using his programming skills, he built a website that displays maps of all his routes and accompanying blog posts.
About a month in, his posts already have attracted followers, including Diane Oestreich, who lives in the Broadway Historic District and featured him in her weekly neighborhood newsletter earlier this month.
During his runs, Rogers listens and darts to a customized playlist of drum and bass, a form of electronic music that vibrates about 170 beats per minute. This is where Rogers’ true techy self comes out to play.
He strives to run 180 steps per minute, “because that’s what’s best physiologically,” so he uses audio-editing software to ramp up the songs to match his strides.
But don’t let that fool you. The self-described “extroverted introvert” doesn’t want to do this alone.
“I’d like other people to come with me,” he said. “It kind of scares the crap out of me, but part of this is to get out and meet people in the community and figure out where I fit.”