"I never fully understood why runners would chose road running over perfectly safe sidewalks."
As a former runner and cyclist, I ran on the side streets in Rossford when I lived there, and I only hopped up on the sidewalk when I was running through part of the downtown. Busy road meant sidewalk. Quiet side streets meant running on the road.
Asphalt is supposedly softer than concrete. I suppose the difference could be measured over a long period of running.
I ran after work, and for part of the year, that meant running in the dark, and the footing on the roads was better than on sidewalks that may have cracks, holes, or raised parts. Also, Rossford's roads tended to be clear of snow and ice sooner or more often than every homeowner's sidewalks.
My casual, short-distance run was 45 minutes or around six miles. Running all six miles in the dark in the winter on sidewalks would not be safe in my opinion.
In West Toledo where I live now, I wouldn't run on Douglas Rd, but I would run on the side streets except the busy ones like narrow Bowen. But I no longer run. Now it's 40 to 60 minute brisk walks around the neighbhorhood on sidewalks even through the winter except for about a week in late last December when the sidewalks were treacherous with ice. I prefer to exercise outdoors in all weather. Get to observe nature too.
I did the majority of my solo cycling in Wood County, and I experienced a few incidents where drivers would yell or toss something, but I never got hit. My biggest problem when cycling in farm country were the unchained dogs that left their yards and came into the road and chased me. Some ambushed me. It's an exciting few seconds when a dog bounds into a big group of cyclists.
I always thought that an automobile driver or passenger who felt compelled to target a cyclist in some way did so because the driver resented the fact that the cyclist was out exercising and enjoying an activity that the driver was either too lazy or unable to do. The automobile dinks envied the cyclist in some way. And the abuse normally came from male drivers and passengers. I don't remember abuse coming from women. Has to be an insecurity issue with the automobile people. Attacking a cyclist makes the automobile person feel better in some way.