Darien man runs every street in town
While many longtime Darien residents may profess to having driven down every street in town, there are probably not many who can say they’ve gone down every street on foot.
There might be just one, actually, who can make that claim, and that is 40-year old Bill Ozanne, who recently completed what he has named “The Every Street Project” in Darien.
Over the course of 35 days, Ozanne ran down 350 streets in town. In 27 1/2 hours, he ran 187 miles. He’s run down about 250 of the town’s public streets and 100 private streets. He ran the entire distance by himself. He finished on April 7, running 1.3 miles from his current house to the home he grew up in on Deepwood Road.
Ozanne first got the idea for his challenge in November 2018, when he read on Twitter about a man named Rickey Gates who ran all the streets in San Francisco.
“I thought I could probably do that in Darien very easily. I’ve lived in Darien forever so I thought it would be kind of cool to do this,” said Ozanne, a Darien High School graduate who works as an accountant. He and his wife Erica, a nurse practitioner, have two young children.
Ozanne started running in college, “just for fun,” he said. “I would go out and run 10 miles or so.”
To date, he has run 17 marathons, four ultra trail marathons, and dozens of half marathons and shorter distance races.
He has also completed four ultra-marathons, all about 30-mile distances. This includes The Northface 50K, the Vermont 50 and the Eiger Ultra Trail in Switzerland.
Ozanne got a map of Darien on the town website, along with a list of public streets, and began his challenge.
On weekdays, he usually ran 30 to 40 minutes, from three to five miles; and on weekends, he ran about six to eight miles.
He ran in sections, parking in different areas of town. “My parents live down by the water. I would park by their house and run from there,” he said. On other occasions, his wife would drop him off by the Darien train station and he would run a point to point.
In order to accomplish his goal, he had to run many streets — such as the one-way streets — twice.
Having lived in town for 35 years, he thought he had been down most streets, but half or more were new to him, he said.
Highlights of Ozanne’s challenge included the many cul-de-sacs he ran through.
“I'd say at least ten cul-de-sacs had been maintained and very well-appointed by the surrounding homes, with seating and fire pits actually in what I would call the island in the middle of the street,” he said. “More than one had lights strung up for evening parties.”
His favorite street to run is 5 Mile River Road. “There are great views of the water,” he said.
One of the most special parts of his challenge was the last day, when he ran on Deep Wood Road — the street he grew up on.
“We used to ride our skateboards on that street,” he said. “It’s a slight downhill.”
Many times, it was dark and he had to run with a headlamp. While it was not his first time running in the dark, it was the first time he got out consistently to run in the dark a few nights a week. “It certainly is not my favorite,” he said. “Pacing is a little different since there are no visual reference points to how fast you are running other than looking at my watch. Since it was cold, the condensation from my breath was lit up by my headlamp and sometimes made it hard to see. Even so, it was a nice change and I had to get the miles covered.”
While he didn’t run in snow, he did run in rain. On the winter solstice, Dec. 22, he parked at a Little League field and “ran the area around Ring’s End and West Avenue from start to finish, in the pouring rain,” he said.
Heat was an issue as well. On one run, the temperature reached 65 degrees. “I took water and one gel,” he said.
The toughest street was Brookside Road, where there are a lot of hills, Ozanne said.
Another spot where he was faced with a challenge was Coon Point Road, a private street. “It’s on the town map but not on the list of streets. There is a gate. It’s blocked off,” he said. “I had to sneak through the gate on the last day. It’s a quarter- mile long and part of Zeigler’s Farm.”
Tokeneke Road was his last challenge. “It’s a private association. There are signs that say ‘No runners,’” he said. “I had stories dreamed up. I was going to say we were looking for houses there.”
He never needed to use the stories since no one stopped him.
Looking back, he said he greatly enjoyed his experience.
“I liked all the planning aspects of it,” he said, adding he also likes maps.
One regret he has is to have run at a faster pace, so he would have been able to finish sooner. His average pace was eight to nine minutes per mile.
“Maybe I would try to do it faster, maybe next winter,” said Ozanne, who is already gearing up for some more challenges. He is planning to run the Eiger Ultra Trail 51K again in July, and the Javelina Jundred 100K in October, in Arizona. He also said he would one day like to run a 100-mile race.
“Whenever my wife and I drive around town now, I am always reminding her that I ran down this street or that street,” Ozanne said. “It will never get old.”