Turning running into a work of art
For Susan Sidoriak, running is a passion and an art form – literally.
Having been a runner since high school, Susan has completed seven marathons so far and is now gearing up to tackle her first Abbott World Marathon Major in Boston this September.
In the meantime, she is having lots of fun getting creative with the famous old course route and plenty of other 26.2-mile maps.
The graphic designer and photographer from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, has had some extra time on her hands during these unheralded times so she decided to combine her hobby and her work to create SidePorch Squiggles, where she - and others - turn running routes into works of art.
She explains: “During these strange times, I’m finding myself clinging onto both my art and running. It's possibly a bit of a survival tactic. I did this type of drawing with my grandfather as a child on his side porch.
"It was a natural instinct to bring it back to life and share it with others right now. I think the birth of the SidePorch Squiggles was my sub-conscience speaking, and I want to comfort other kids the way it comforted me growing up.”
Course maps can be downloaded from Susan’s website for anyone to have some fun with. Having only been up and running since early March, there are just a few routes available at present, but Susan is busy adding new marathons every other day. From there, it's simple - print out your chosen route and start creating!
Once runners have finished their own Picasso, they can simply email it back to Susan for her to create a digital mock-up to for the artist to share.
“Boston might seem like the easiest route to work with," she says, "but I'm continually surprised at the creativity of how a child's mind thinks.
"New York has been popular but I can’t make anything of it, although the kids sure can! Their imagination is somewhat of a white canvas of thoughts. There’s nothing better than getting unicorns, candles and flowers in your inbox in the midst of our world’s current events.”
Why does Susan think art is so important at this time for everyone?
“If I can get someone to put down their phone or turn off the sobering news on the TV and distract the mind from current events for a few moments, I find it's a healthy reset to one’s mental well-being. Just like running.”
Here’s what one budding artist had to say about their transformation of the TCS New York City Marathon Route….
Hi, my name is Lisa, and I am in Mrs. Willians 5th grade class in Radnor Elementary School. I am 11 years old. I drew this picture because I am passionate about soccer and this image represents that. You can see that there is a jar that has been broken, it holds all the secrets of, well, me. There is a girl playing soccer and a trophy and all my favorite sports teams. I was born in Vienna, Austria and my family are originally from Germany but we have moved to Sweden and now we have lived here for 4 years. Ever since we moved to Sweden I found joy in playing soccer. In the picture there are flags and jerseys but my dream is to play for the American Women’s National Soccer team even though that is probably never going to happen.
I liked this project a lot.
And in reply...
My name is Susan Sidoriak. I’m a friend of your 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Willians. I think you’re a very detailed and talented artist. I also think you have a jar full of wonderful dreams. My wish is that you never stop aspiring to reach your goal of becoming a player on the American Women’s Soccer Team. If you work hard enough, you will never let yourself down. There may be bumps in the road along the way, but keep the passion and dream inside of you, and never let it go. When times get challenging, that’ll be the moment to pull out your love and dedication for the game, and let your heart be your guide. If you do this, I promise it’ll take you much farther than you've ever imagined. Thanks again for your beautiful drawing.
I’ll be rooting for you.
For more information visit SidePorch Squiggles.