Can Running Boost More Than Health? One Austinite Says It Builds Community, Too.

In his part of town, Tabeer Badar is known as the “running man.”

By Joy DiazFebruary 5, 2018 10:30 am| ,

“I run anywhere from 16 to 20 miles, I would say, all together,” Tabeer Badar says.

There’s a reason why he’s called the “running man” in Bee Cave, which is just outside of Austin. Neighbors see Badar running so often that he’s earned the title. Another thing he’s known for? Badar doesn’t exactly run inside the lines.

“That’s one of the reasons I think I’m sort of a controversial figure, is because I run on the highway,” he says. “But this is one of the things that I think is missing in our modern world perhaps, this sort of visceral, true experience of community.”

To Badar, running is much more than just cardio – it’s philosophical exercise, too.

“There’s a sense of community that I was investigating. It had to do with co-appearance,” he says. “When I run on the highway and people see me over and over again, people respond to that. Sometimes I see people smiling and this smile is not a fake smile. It’s a genuine smile. Maybe they’re sort of having the same experience that I am when they see my face or something.”

Badar says he thinks of that feeling as a mirror neuron effect – and that’s a human connection that matters.

Written by Jen Rice.