A run with Shum

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin goes for a run.

A couple weeks ago I went for a run with Governor Shumlin.  For work.  With camera.  Amazing combination.  Reporter Terri Hallenbeck and I worked on the story together and as we stood outside the governor’s office one afternoon stretching out our legs and tightening our laces we both questioned how I was actually going to pull this off.  Maybe I’ll run part of it and peel off?  Gov. Shumlin and his security detail, Jimmy, pulled up alongside us.  “Get in,” said Shumlin.  I was hesitant and asked about where we were going (secret), how long we’d be gone (unknown), should I bring my car?  Shumlin’s response: “Are you a runner?”  “Yes,” I replied.  “Well then get in, we’re only going to be going 3 or 4 miles and I’m an old man, you can keep up.”  So, I jumped into the back of the governor’s vehicle and off we went to an undisclosed location out in the country and into the woods.  He said it was his favorite loop and seemed excited to show us where he clears his head.  Shumlin lamented that his new job doesn’t allow him the freedom to run like he used to.  Terri and Shumlin compared injuries and running war stories while I adjusted my camera and paired down the equipment I would need to bring.  I brought my most compact camera body and a 50mm.  The lightest combination of gear I have.  I was incredibly excited but had no idea what I was getting into.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin goes for a run.

After egging Jimmy on about not joining us on our run (he was wearing a suit and boots) we put in a quick stretch and we were off.  Jimmy yelled to Shumlin “What’s your pace?  How long will you be gone?”  He wanted to know the details of Shumlin’s trail run, where he should expect him and when.  As he started his run Shumlin joked “2 minute mile, Jimmy.  The usual loop.”  Jimmy smiled and headed back to his vehicle.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin goes for a run

Shumlin flitted through the woods with ease bouncing over rocks and roots while negotiating switchbacks up a wooded hillside.  Chasing the governor through a winding path proved more difficult than I predicted.  I lost him at one point.  Left or right?  I could faintly hear Terri’s interview as they spouted questions and answers between breaths.  Great, he went up that trail?  Spinning my camera onto my back I stopped taking  pictures and focused on catching up.  The chase opened up to reveal early growth on a swath of farmland.  Shumlin slowed while Terri interviewed.  He was polite to stop occasionally and let me catch up.  With one arm swinging while the other braced my camera, I got closer to hear Shumlin shout “Come on McManamy!” to which I replied “You schooled me.  Man, I’m out of shape.”  Shumlin and Terri agreed that running with a camera gave me a definite disadvantage.  Nice of them to say, but I was dragging nonetheless.

Waving to passersby and stopping at a small dairy farm to talk with the locals, Shumlin didn’t break from his gubernatorial duties.  A man waved to Shumlin as he shouted back “How are those turkeys doing?” to which the man reported they were well and went on his way.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin goes for a run.

Back in the car Shumlin wiped his brow, stretched his bad knee up to his chest and turned around to reach over the backseat offering us his water.  “Want some gubernatorial water?”  Later, as we sat in his driveway, Shumlin quickly thanked us for the run and wished us a good evening as his security detail handed him his suit and tie and he walked inside.

A run with the governor, not a bad way to spend a work day.

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