Robert Anquoe’s favorite days happen alongside Riverside Drive.
The 54-year-old athlete has called Tulsa home since his kindergarten days. An active runner and cyclist, he’s made the trek up and down the paths alongside Riverside countless times.
He’s also a race organizer who used to have his runners run up and down the scenic roadway for 5k and 10k events.
Anquoe’s passion for the Tulsa road is evident when asked what Riverside means to him.
“I like the majority of Riverside Drive. Always have,” Anquoe said. “I remember Riverside Drive in the early days. The thing I equate Riverside to is the running.
“When I started running in 1980 in high school, I would train on Riverside Drive along the trail. Back then, Riverside was just a trail. It was a chat trail, a single-lane trail. Then it became dirt, then it became more chat and wider, and then it became asphalt.”
Anquoe said the trail didn’t extend as far as it does today. He remembers when it was dirt from 25th to 41st streets.
Anquoe would run about 5 miles a day during the 1980s, going out and returning from the old wood pedestrian bridge. He would park near the 29th Street and Riverside structure and head south.
His journeys used to end on 71st Street, but expansion has moved his pattern even farther south to the Creek Turnpike. Those long workouts are usually on his bicycle, and he’ll spider-web out to other arteries that lead him east or west over the Arkansas River.
How much has Riverside changed over the years when Sen. James Inhofe was then Mayor James Inhofe in the early 1980s?
Anquoe talked once again about how the paths have changed and is excited about the recent renovations.
“In the last 10 years or so, they’ve added bike lanes,” Anquoe said. “It’s expanded from a simple dirt trail to a two-way bike trail as well.”
It’s common for him to see the same athletes either running or biking on the trails during the weekdays and weekends.
For a seven-year span before 2000, Anquoe would invite those same runners to take part in his Dah-Oh-Yah run. Anquoe, a member of the Kiowa tribe, coordinates the race, which is derived from the Kiowa word for wonderful or “I feel good.”
“That’s when we experienced our biggest turnout (when the race was on Riverside). We had 326 registered runners, and that’s been our largest crowd,” Anquoe said. “Being the founder of the run, I just did that for the Tulsa Indian Club. I started the run back in those days when I had a lot of running friends.”
Anquoe pointed out that Riverside “still remains a pretty scenic route for runners today.”
There’s so much newness for Riverside runners over the past decade, including an opportunity to stroll through Gathering Place or pacing past River Spirit Casino Resort.
Anquoe is nearing four decades of running down Riverside. Where is his top spot along the trail?
“It used to be the Pedestrian Bridge, the old one. That was my favorite spot,” he said. “And now that it’s going to be removed and a new one in place, that may be my new spot.
“The Gathering Place is very nice and very attractive. The Gathering Place area is probably one of my favorites.”