Michael Lisicky was chasing vanity when he first started running 13 years ago.

He saw a picture of himself and wasn’t happy with how he looked. He started running discreetly because he was a little embarrassed taking up a new athletic endeavor. After the first few weeks, he felt like Drano, a solution for clearing clogs, was poured into him because his heart felt better. Since then, he’s run over 4,600 days consecutively and kept off at least 70 pounds.

“You can’t do it for other people. You have to do it for yourself,” Lisicky said of running.

But the 59-year-old got bored with his regular running routines through Patterson Park and downtown. He needed something new. He could have taken up tennis, but his hands get sore, having played the oboe for 50 years. (He’s currently an oboist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.) He considered swimming, but the Patterson Park pool never opened.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The New Jersey native heard about a man who ran all of Camden County to raise awareness for dementia. It got him to thinking whether he could do the same in Baltimore. And soon it became his goal.

He was going to run every street of Baltimore and share who and what he discovered along the way on his blog Michael Runs Baltimore.

Michael Lisicky jogs as part of a staged run up Francis Street, which he hasn’t yet crossed off his list, on Dec. 7. Lisicky has been on a mission since the summer to run on every street in Baltimore. (Wesley Lapointe / for the Baltimore Banner) (Wesley Lapointe/for the Baltimore Banner)

Lisicky got a roadmap from the Barnes and Noble bookstore by Johns Hopkins University, along with some markers, and started dividing the city like a jigsaw puzzle. His running time changes depending on his orchestra schedule. He looks at the map before he heads out for his run during the morning, noon or evenings.

“If I had to get tech involved with this, I would feel I would be losing the heart of the project,” Lisicky said.

Lisicky decided to start his running journey this summer in Brooklyn. After hearing about the July 2 shooting that killed two people and injured 30, he realized he’d never even been to Brooklyn. The only thing he knew about the neighborhood was that Ritchie Highway is close by.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

He learned that it’s a much bigger place than just the Brooklyn Homes complex. He also understood why residents might feel disconnected after encountering several half-mile stretches without sidewalks. Several Brooklyn residents told The Baltimore Banner after the shooting that they’ve always felt out of sight and out of mind when it comes to resources and support.

Lisicky is a one-man show when he hits the pavement because he likes to go at his own pace. The experience has become very personal to him. He’s getting to know a city he didn’t really know, even though he’s lived in Baltimore since 2004.

He tends to run at least five to eight miles a day.

He also cherishes the encounters he’s had and has found a simple “hello” can go a long way.

Michael Lisicky jogs as part of a staged run on Retreat Street. Lisicky has been on a mission since the summer to run on every street in Baltimore. (Wesley Lapointe / for the Baltimore Banner) (Wesley Lapointe/for the Baltimore Banner)

“We’re still a fractured city and we probably always will be, but I am also seeing that we are more tolerant than I expected of one another,” Lisicky said.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

He once met a boy named “Beethoven” in the Arlington area who asked inquisitive questions about his exercise, and in exchange he told him about the composer of the same name. It was one of the sweetest encounters he’s ever had, Lisicky said.

He’s gotten yelled at for not wearing gloves, discovered neighborhood projects, and found that some streets don’t exists anymore — even some neighborhoods are gone, like Fairfield in South Baltimore. Though he sees disparities in different neighborhoods, he’s “learning to be a little bit more compassionate and not just write communities off.”

Lisicky runs in the rain, snow, sunshine and more so he doesn’t miss a day. He also doesn’t run the same street twice.

It’s a rubric and process his wife of 25 years, Sandy Lisicky, isn’t surprised he created.

She’s used to seeing him pick up an interest and verse himself until he becomes an expert. Michael Lisicky wrote 10 books about American department stores. On his calf, he has a tattoo of the seal of Strawbridge and Clothier, one of his favorite department stores from his youth that’s since closed.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“I knew he would stay devoted to it because that’s the kind of guy that he is,” Sandy Lisicky said, adding that she thought running the city would take a few years, but is impressed by his progress.

Though Sandy Lisicky is also a runner, she and Michael don’t run together. He’s turned it into a very personal, reinventing experience, and she doesn’t want to intrude on that. She is, however, available if he’s out running and needs her. Lisicky often parks his car near the area where he is going to run. One time he relied on the subway to get back, but it was closed. Sandy doesn’t worry too much about his going out alone because he’s usually focused when he runs and doesn’t bother anyone. She looks forward to the photos and interactions he’s had along the way and hopes this new goal keeps him optimistic.

“He has had encounters with people that have really just sparked my faith in humanity,” said Sandy Lisicky, who also plays oboe and teaches at the Baltimore School for the Arts.

People ask Michael Lisicky how much longer it’ll be until he finishes running every street in Baltimore. He figures he has at least three or four months left. There’s a bit of Northeast Baltimore he hasn’t run because of all the hills.

“I am not trying to win anything, but I am gonna run the city,” he said.

For now, he’s no longer chasing an image, but a new view in a different place with the same “hello.”