Michael Shanks on why he challenged himself to run every street in Glasgow

Michael Shanks is ran 6,000+ Glasgow streets in what started as lockdown exercise.

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Michael Shanks, a teacher, began running in Glasgow as a way to pass the time during the first Covid lockdown. He was inspired to start running every street in the city after discovering Rickey Gates, who did the same in San Francisco.

“It started off in the first lockdown in March 2020, just as an excuse to go out and use my daily exercise that we were permitted at the time. And then it just be more of an adventure,” said Michael who is nearing the end of his challenge.

Michael has also discovered parts of Glasgow he never knew existed in his quest to run all 6,000 streets.

“It's my home. It's a fascinating city. It's also a very well marked city. So the boundary is really clearly defined, which means it's very easy to know when you hit it.

“But more so, it’s a place I've lived for a long time and thought I knew quite well, but I realised through this, I really didn't know it all that well and I've explored places I've never been in before,” he said.

Michael Shanks is running every street in Glasgow. Picture: John DevlinMichael Shanks is running every street in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin
Michael Shanks is running every street in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

His challenge has inspired others, as he explained: “I already know people who are doing it on a smaller scale in their local community. They’re using a map, and colouring in when they’ve been down streets. There are people discovering streets they’ve never been on before.”

And it’s not just Glasgow folks that are taking up the challenge. “There’s a guy in Edinburgh that walked every street, which is amazing. So people can do this and not run, it’s just an opportunity to get out and explore where you live.”

While Michael said he’s about 99 per cent through the challenge, he doesn’t think it’ll ever really be completed.

“I've already run through housing estates that are still being built. So I reckon in a couple of weeks, I'll be back down to 99 per cent and I'll have to start all over again. But I don’t think I do the whole thing again.”

On his site, Michael explains further the reasons behind his challenge, writing: “Along the way I started to record photographs of my runs and wee bits of history of the area I was exploring that day. I started to speak to people I met along the way – usually wondering if I was lost because I was studying a map in a cul-de-sac housing estate. I’ve been writing down those conversations and the histories and am in the process of writing a book about this experience. More on that – hopefully – soon.”

Find out more here.

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