I plan to stick with you for a long time, Toledo.

My name is Krista. I’m from the west side of Cleveland. Everyone from Cleveland loves Cleveland and believes it to be the center of the universe. I did–past tense.

I graduated from Ohio University. Everyone from there believes it to also be the center of the universe. A piece of my heart is there forever.

A decade ago, I moved to Toledo. It took some time to like it because I was all, “Cleveland rocks!” and “Athens is the greatest place on earth!” In retrospect, I wasn’t terribly fair to Toledo.

Then, Toledo became totally awesome. I can’t figure out if it was overnight or gradual, but now we have so much cool stuff happening. Toledo and its suburbs have a solid beer and restaurant scene (I love everything on your menu, Swig), the friendliest and best coffee joints (The Flying Joe is a post-morning run must before I get to my day job), a handful of farmers markets (The Perrysburg farmers market is my jam on summertime Thursday evenings), a growing community of artisans who make locally-sourced things (I’ve delivered many gifts from Handmade Toledo across the Atlantic), beautiful metroparks (Sidecut is where I married my Maumee-born husband and where I have since run hundreds of miles), and local sports teams with cult-like fans (Even as a Bobcat, I cheer on the Rockets to dominate the MAC West). We rock our 419 t-shirts, bumper stickers, and pint glasses with pride (Jüpmode, represent!).

I love all of those things! And for real, who wouldn’t?

First I was a Clevelander. Then Athens stole my heart. But now that I’m here, I plan to stick with you for a long time, Toledo. Thanks for all of the awesome things.

As an active and accomplished runner, Krista regularly logs 30+ miles a week, many of which are run at Sidecut Metropark in Maumee. We caught up with her at the park, which is also where she and her husband were married. She says Sidecut will always hold a special place in her heart.