LEWISTON — The superintendent of schools is on a mission to get to know his new city, by running every street.

Bill Webster has been Lewiston’s school superintendent since Jan. 1. He gets up each workday at 5 a.m., dresses in warm layers and heads out into the cold. He runs for 45 minutes to an hour along streets lined with snowbanks.

Growing up in Hallowell, his biggest impression of Lewiston was childhood visits to the long-closed Peck’s Department Store.

Webster, 60, says he has been running for about 35 years. “It’s a good way to stay in shape,” he said, adding that he is 6 feet tall and weighs 185 pounds. “I do like to eat. Running allows me to eat, to consume more calories.”

He also likes sightseeing. “Anytime we travel to New York City, Boston, Montreal, Paris or London, I love to get out and run and see the city,” he said. In Venice a few years ago, he saw locals hanging laundry and cleaning the streets.

Six weeks into his job, he estimated he had run about 20 percent of the 200 miles of Lewiston roads.

He’s run through the downtown, on almost all of the streets near the Androscoggin River, on East Avenue and on Bartlett Street hill. On Tuesday, he ran the Montello hill.

He’s getting to know Lewiston.

“It’s been wonderful to go through the old mill area and see what’s been renovated, to see the canals,” Webster said. “I’m impressed there’s a lot of diversity and different parts of Lewiston, not only in terms of houses and density, but flat land and hills. There’s a lot of green space in Lewiston.”

He’s also scouting for homes for sale. He and his family are looking to buy a home after his daughter graduates from Ellsworth High School in June. Before coming to Lewiston, Webster was superintendent of Regional School Unit 24 in the Ellsworth area.

Still another benefit: Running gives him time to listen to audio books. In the past 18 months he’s listened to 20 books he wouldn’t have listened to, otherwise.

Webster sets a good example for students, said Dr. Shashi Panozzo, the new school doctor for Lewiston and Auburn.

“Running strengthens the heart, lowers blood pressure,” Panozzo said. “It helps you lose weight, along with a healthy diet.” Running also releases endorphins, brain chemicals that help relieve stress and anxiety.

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