On Feb. 28 of 2020, J.C. Lippold looked at the front page of this newspaper and smiled. At the top was a banner that read, “Running Conversation” with a picture of he and his fellow runners jumping in the air.
The story was about Lippold’s brainchild, which he called “5K Everyday Conversations.” The idea was simple: Strangers would meet up, run 5 kilometers together and talk. This would help connect people in our disconnected age, and combat the tidal wave of loneliness.
Two months in, the project was going well. Lippold planned to run and talk for all 366 days of 2020. But just below the banner was another headline: “Stocks’ worst day as fears go viral.” COVID-19 was on its way.
Looking at the front page, Lippold felt a sliver of doubt about whether his project would go as planned. But strangers kept running and talking until March 25, when Gov. Tim Walz ordered a two-week lockdown.
Being a creative person, Lippold is not one to let something like a global pandemic keep him down. He pivoted.