Friday, June 10, 2011
It’s not uncommon to see runners out getting their daily endorphin fix with a four-legged friend by their side. In fact, lots of dogs love to run…but a long distance running cat? Now that’s a different “tail” altogether! Oh sure, there are plenty of sprinting cats including my own, who make a mad dash from the couch to the kitchen every time I get out the FELIDAE cat food or TidNips treats. Heck, my nom-obsessed kitties sprint into the kitchen when it merely looks like I might be heading in that direction. Take away the incentive of food, and I’m pretty sure they’d stay in their semi-comatose position on the couch.
Roadrunner is a long-distance running cat who not only enjoys going for a daily run with her owner, she also has her own personal trainer who is helping her become the fittest feline athlete in the country! That’s because Roadrunner’s owner is Michael Greenblatt, a fitness instructor from West Long Branch, New Jersey. Greenblatt has worked with celebrities and Olympians, but never a cat—that is, until a stray black kitten decided to join him on his run one day, back in 2008.
At first, the kitten cautiously watched from afar as Greenblatt took off for his morning run. About a month later, the kitten approached him and rubbed up against his leg while he stretched. Incredibly, the kitten began running alongside him and kept pace with him as he ran through the neighborhood. Greenblatt was astonished by the running kitten, and even more so when she began waiting on his doorstep every morning at 5:30, ready and willing to run with him.
Growing up, Greenblatt had two beloved black cats, so although he felt a natural attraction to this amazing cat who shared his passion for running, he wasn’t really looking for a pet. The cat, however, had other ideas. It wasn’t long before Greenblatt adopted her and named her Roadrunner, a fitting moniker for a long distance running cat.
The pair now run through their neighborhood or at the nearby beach. Roadrunner runs without a leash but sticks close to Greenblatt. The three-year-old cat with sleek black fur is an eager running partner, insists Greenblatt. “She wants to run every day,” he says. Morever, Roadrunner is quite displeased if he decides to skip the run because he’s too tired or busy.
Roadrunner’s affinity for running led to Greenblatt’s decision to train her, much like he does with his two-legged clients – with allowances for her petite feline frame of course. He gives her water before her run, has her stretch and do a little “pre-run” warm-up. He times her with a stopwatch, and she’s shaved more than a minute off her 150-yard run to the end of the block and back; now it only takes her 54 seconds! “Roadrunner is certainly the fittest cat on our block,” says Greenblatt.
Like any famous kitty worth her salt, Roadrunner has her own Facebook page. The long distance running cat apparently has plans for a website too, but it is still “under construction” as yet. Roadrunner may even be featured in a children's book, but her newfound fame hasn't affected her running routine or her sweet disposition.
Read more articles by Julia Williams