We ran our Peace Trot at Cass Park in the sun! One of us was a little more excited about the 5k than the other ...
Our Holzbaur-Ritter Peter DeMott Peace Trot team at the victorious end of our DIY 5K: Grace Ritter, Donna Holzbaur, Eleanor Ritter, Theo, and Kim Ritter. If you’d like to sponsor us or to learn about Peter DeMott, the Ithaca Peter DeMott Catholic Worker House, the Kings Bay 7 Plowshares, ridding Central NY (and the world) of drone warfare go to https://www.peterdemottpeacetrot.org/sponsor-a-trotter.html
We walked the 5K together yesterday with our friends Jen Kagan and Peter Silberman and wanted to share a picture of us from it with you! It's Beth Cohen, George Dillmann, and Jennifer Kagan, photographed by Peter Silberman.
I was fortunate to have very beautiful weather for my Trot on Monday, June 15, at about 7:30am. I chose the route that began and ended at the Stewart Park small pavilion, mainly following the Cayuga Waterfront Trail to and from the Farmer’s Market, which is part of my regular running route. Running at that time of the day is very peaceful, and allowed me the time and space to reflect on the bird song I was hearing, the beauty of the water and the park, and our great fortune in Ithaca to have the Waterfront Trail. It also gave me the chance to think about the privilege that my white skin gives me. When I run, I often think about how my arthritic knees will feel afterward…or whether I might endure the bad luck of another ankle sprain…but no one will tell me I don’t have a right to be there doing what I’m doing; no police car will pull me over to question me; and certainly no one’s going to shoot me – all of which, as we know, people of color in this country endure every day. I can’t imagine having to live with fear like that. I am truly fortunate. Having the chance to run or walk in the Peace Trot every year has been a great joy. Though my 2020 time of 27:50 was nowhere near as fast as I used to be able to run (pre-arthritis!), it was still, as always, a privilege to be able to participate and to support Ithaca Catholic Worker. Thank you so much for finding a way to make the Trot happen this year! (In addition to my solo run on Mon. the 15th, I walked the route with my spouse Beth Cohen and our friend Jen Kagan on Sat. the 13th, which was the occasion for the attached photo - Beth is on the left.)
Taking a break during the Peter Demott Peace Trot, in Larchmont NY, getting some H2O, some shade, and resting my very close veins! When my friend was sent off to do time for a peace protest, I was instructed, "Don't sit under the apple tree with anybody else but me!" I don't have any apple trees anymore, so I promised not to sit under my rubber plant with anybody else...
I used to race regularly - had a yearly racing calendar of three or four, sometimes more, events per month for seven or so months - but not for several years, my last good year being in 2006, the year I turned 50. My favorite events were 15-21K road races, but I ran a whole gamut, including 5K's of course.
For this event, I am making a contribution to Catholic Workers, a group of highly committed wonderful people doing righteous work important - essential - on several levels. And I am doing daily runs, committed as I am (to maybe lesser degree than Catholic Workers) to doing some "serious" racing in the near future. Why again, after all this time? I left the fold as the result of physical degeneration, emanating from my compromised let alone aging bowels. I think my status, my situation has changed - greatly, fantastically, if not still tentatively, maybe. I am feeling my body returning nearer to how it had previously responded to athletic efforts, which was for the period of my life, in my 40's, so rewarding and central to what I chose to to do/be.
So, why not again?
Such transition in my health status first became more lasting and apparent starting about two weeks ago, in terms of my strength, stamina, and fast recovery. I have been "into it" 4-6 days per week without injury or, more likely, increasing fatigued. Au contraire! Like being reborn, so my association with this - Peter Demott Peace Trot is not only appropriate, but right, right on, as I share deeply its - Pete and Catholic Workers - values in peace and love.
Running is so much an exercise that delves into, that emphasizes this way of being. Routine and repetitive, endeavoring to be better (simple living, acknowledging and accepting shared as opposed to competitive satisfaction , being healthier, focused), moving through ever changing environments/situations and demands, routes, phases of training, weather... Thus, being adaptable and adaptive.
I've been running mostly in the early morning, and for the first two days, since our virtual race began, I've run for about two hours each (by coincidence) having just decided after my very hard run two days previous to Friday's (a day of rest! in between) that I would enter a short period, about two weeks, of low intensity, aerobic base building. Friday's run was around Cass Pk/Marina and along the inlet going south from Ithaca; Saturday (yesterday) I ran south from the city on a somewhat slopier out-and-back course with a turn-around incorporating Shelter Valley Rd.
It was great to be able to do my trot up here in Maine and share the experience with a friend. Lauren and I did a favorite trail on the island which is a 1.7 mile figure 8 called "Ships Harbor." We chose this trail because we have often accidentally met up on walks or runs on our weekends off from working together on a farm. We looped the course twice to make it a 5k, enjoying a slow run next to the ocean. During the run, I thought a lot about how much it has meant to me to grow up in a community committed to peace, justice, and antimilitarism. I also thought a lot about my dad, Tom Joyce, and all of the work he has put in to making the Peace Trot happen each year and designing beautiful (although sometimes featuring killer hills) courses for us all to run.
I miss Peter DeMott; a friend to me and to all humanity.
I remember washing dishes with Peter. I remember his gentle presence at protests, prayers, parties, and poetry readings. He was relentless in demanding and creating a just, nonviolent, nuclear free community here and around the world. Peter put his hand on the gospel plow, living out the non-violent love taught by Jesus.
Peter left us in 2009, but his spirit and example are needed now more than ever. And so, the annual Peter De Mott Peace Trot will proceed, in a format modified but uncancelled by the pandemic.
I invite you to join the Ithaca Catholic Worker as we remember and emulate Peter this year. You can register to run, walk, or donate at peterdemottpeacetrot.org. We still intend to build a new world in the shell of the old. Plus there's a nifty T shirt.
Those who have gone before us can help us by their example, if we will remember it. We could use all the help we can get right now.
This will be my 11th Peter De Mott Peace Trot and we Thomases have a complete set of T-shirts in our attic to prove it. Ellen Grady and the Grady family have been part of our lives ever since they moved in across the street from us in 1973. I don’t think our lives have been the same since. In addition to Peter’s and Ellen’s wedding, my wife and I been to numerous other rites of passage, celebrating first communions and end-of-life services and everything in between. Can anyone think of another family of Irish-American Catholics who would hold a memorial service for their beloved mother in a Quaker meetinghouse – and a dry meetinghouse at that? But I joined the Ithaca Catholic Worker, not because of Peter, whom I admired and loved, or the Gradys, but because it is the pre-eminent anti-war community in Ithaca.
The photo of me wearing the T-shirt with the Dorothy Day quote, “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system,” was taken while on a “training run” on a beautiful spring day in the south of England last year while visiting our daughters and their families. That is my normal Peace Trot attire. To say I am not a serious runner is an understatement. I typically finish the 5K almost forty minutes behind the winners. I’m just as happy to be Trotting Together in Spirit this year on one of the trails, not in Cass Park – and not being timed!
from Dan Finlay...
Did you know that the distance from Jerusalem to Emmaus is 10.4 kilometers? That is just a little more than two Peace Trots! And since the Risen Christ joined the two disciples in the middle of their journey (Luke 24:13-35), maybe he did a 5K with them before they broke bread. You never know who is walking with you side by side. That is especially true in a virtual trot. You might be walking your 5K in Ithaca New York at 7 AM listening to the bird songs in Cass Park and halfway across the world someone is matching you step by step as the sun sets. Presence has its' mysteries.