Danny Harris is a DC-based photographer, DJ, and collector of stories. In September, he launched People’s District, a blog that tells a people’s history of DC by sharing the stories and images of its residents. Every day, People’s District presents a different Washingtonian sharing his or her insights on everything from Go Go music to homelessness to fashion to politics. You can read his previous columns here.
“I am a young 57. I was born in D.C. General Hospital in 1952. My family history goes way back in D.C. I was raised in Georgetown and came through the Catholic schools as a three sport athlete. I played basketball, baseball and football. After high school, I got a football scholarship to play defensive back at the Community College of Baltimore. While I was there, I was recruited to play for the University of Pittsburgh. At the time, my high school sweetheart was having one of my first babies, so I decided not to go. I dream about that missed opportunity all of the time. Tony Dorsett was there at the time and I would have won a national championship. It would have changed my whole life had I made that move. I am not mad though because I am still happy with what I have accomplished. I’ve been married for 30 years. I have six kids and four grand kids. I am blessed by my family. Everybody has a destiny and I think that this was my destiny.
“When I didn’t go to the University of Pittsburgh, I came back to D.C. to be a bus driver. Ever since I was younger, I had always wanted to drive a bus. I used to see the bus drivers looking all cool and talking to the ladies and wanted to be just like them. Four months later, I was driving a bus for the southeast division of Metro. I was always good at my job because I am a people person and an excellent driver. I tell you, my driving is smooth. I have driven every route in the city. I did 25 years for Metro and now I have done 12 years driving the mobile lounges at Dulles Airport. Continues after the jump.
“A friend at Metro got me into running. Before, I was all about playing sports: tennis, basketball, and touch football. I started running with him in 1975 and said, ‘This ain’t so bad.’ Since then, running has changed my life. Because I knew all the bus drivers, I would race the buses from my place on H Street Northeast to the White House. I was crushing them. Running forward, I can beat anyone. In 1984, I said, ‘Why not start running backwards?’ I started doing the spinning thing while I run to work on my endurance. I wanted to make my body stronger. And I am blessed with incredible peripheral vision, so I always know what is around me. When I am on a run, you will always see me moving. I will run in place or spin around the intersections or in the middle of traffic to keep from stopping.
“A lot of people don’t know me, but they recognize me because of how I run. See, I am very vocal. I listen to whatever is rocking on the radio and will yell out, “HOOT! HOOT!” to my bus driver friends and the cabbies. Some people have even stopped me and told that I am an inspiration to them. Because of me, some people started exercising. I tell you, I really feel blessed.
“When I first started running, my wife used to say, ‘Why you gotta run all the time!?’ Now, if I don’t run, she thinks something is wrong with me. Just like waking up in the morning and washing my face, running is a part of my life. The only reason that I will ever stop is because God wants me to. Until then, I will keep running the same route every other day. I go straight down H Street, past the White House to 20th Street and come back the same way.”