If you’re like me, you have no idea who is responsible for clearing the public pedestrian paths that run from the Museum of Science in Cambridge to the Galen Street Bridge in Watertown, assuming instead that the snow there just clears itself, or, Biblically, never falls at all, as if in homage to those dedicated enough to pound pavement during the bitter winter months.

Like me, of course, you’d also be wrong. There’s a phantom force behind the snow removal of the Charles River Paths: While the muscle is provided by the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, Boston.com reports, the funds are shoveled over by Brighton-based shoe giant New Balance.

2013 marks the fourth consecutive year New Balance has paid for the snow removal, which runs the state $10,000 on average annually. The shoe company gave Massachusetts $10,000 in the first year of the collaboration, and has reportedly forked over $20,000 the past two winters.

“This creative program to enhance DCR park users’ experience – while encouraging recreational activity throughout the winter highlights the ways DCR and the business community can work together to ensure that the Commonwealth’s residents and visitors can access healthy and safe outdoor recreation opportunities in all four seasons,” said a statement from conservation department commissioner Ed Lambert.

The impetus for New Balance is fitting–give runners clear paths to train throughout the winter, especially those getting in shape for the Boston Marathon, held every third Monday in April. And while it’s clearly a clever marketing ploy as well (New Balance will host events and hang banners along the paths encouraging people to stay active during winter), I applaud the company for not beating us normal folk–you know, those who run only when chased–over the head with it. Anyone serious enough to gear up as the mercury plummets probably knows they have New Balance to thank.

From all of us, though, a tip of the cap to New Balance for being both business savvy and socially enlightened.

Now if only the’d send a plow to my driveway.

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Image via sneakernews.com