Rosenblatt has goal: Run or walk every Ridgefield road

According to information on its official website, Ridgefield has 420 town roads, 51 private roads, and seven state roads.

Sharon Rosenblatt is on a quest to run or walk all of them.

“I thought it would be a good way to learn more about the town,” said Rosenblatt, a 31-year-old who moved to Ridgefield in 2018. “I’ve been working from home due to the coronavirus, so it seemed like the right time to get going.”

Rosenblatt began her pursuit April 5, running the six streets that go through the Casagmo condominium complex, where she lives with her boyfriend and his son. She’s run or walked most days since, traversing 156 of Ridgefield’s roads as of Monday morning.

Quixotic on the surface, Rosenblatt’s quest is rooted in the mingling of several passions.

“I love running, and I love planning and exploring new places,” said Rosenblatt, who grew up in Cheshire and lived there again for several years before moving to Ridgefield.

At a 2016 road race in New Haven, Rosenblatt saw another entrant wearing a T-shirt that referenced the Run 169 Towns Society, a group for runners interested in completing a race in each of Connecticut’s 169 towns.

“I asked what it was about, and when I heard I knew it was something I wanted to do,” said Rosenblatt. “I finished the challenge last year.”

Rosenblatt is also in the midst of running a road race in all 50 states.

“I’ve finished one in 31 states,” she said. “The last one was in March in Utah. In hindsight, I should have skipped that one — it probably wasn’t a good idea to travel then with the health risk increasing and everything beginning to shut down.”

Although no planes are needed, logistics are among the biggest challenges for Rosenblatt during her Ridgefield runs and walks. She has been driving to schools and churches, parking her car, and then traversing a route that requires minimal backtracking.

Another issue is terrain. “Ridgefield is so hilly,” she said. “There are some roads that I have to at least walk part of the way because they are so steep. That slows me down.”

The project has given Rosenblatt a deeper appreciation for Ridgefield’s colonial background.

“There are so many historic houses and places,” she said. “On April 27 I ran and walked in the area around Wooster Street and past the plaque (on Route 116) that marks the spot where [Continental army] General [David] Wooster fell [on April 27, 1777, in the Battle of Ridgefield].”

Some of Rosenblatt’s observations are more of the moment. “It’s unbelievable how many cul-de-sacs Ridgefield has,” she said. “I’ve also seen a lot of roadkill ... more dead mice than I would have expected.”

On several of her outings, Rosenblatt has had brief conversations with other runners and residents.

“Everyone is so nice,” she said. “They seem genuinely interested when I tell them what I am doing. I’m sure a few of them think it’s crazy.

“One day I drove to the gas station that’s on the state line [with New York] on Route 35 and asked a guy who was working there if it was alright for me to park there while I walked on the road,” Rosenblatt added. “I explained what I was doing, but he still seemed surprised that I would want to walk around there.”