On April 16, 2007 in the Boston morning rain, 98 people age 70 and older waited in a crowd ready to start the country’s most famous marathon. Five and a half hours later, 90 of the septuagenarians crossed the finish line. (And 25 people in wheelchairs completed the race, too.)
That’s inspiring! People who test their person limits encourage those of us who aren’t as fit or ambitious to take a step in the same direction. Even if you don’t want to undertake the lengthy training required for a marathon, you can participate in one of many local events that start where you are and take you further.
The St. Patrick’s Day Fun Run is right around the corner in many cities. (Register soon if you’re interested.) The no-pressure, party atmosphere might carry you the entire way, but you can stop anytime. And it’s fun to walk or jog down the middle of city streets. If that sounds like too much to begin, many YMCA locations and Community Centers sponsor a Silver Sneakers program.
Before making changes in your fitness level, you’ll want your doctor to check your heart. If you’re concerned about your feet, knees, or hips, do yourself a favor and get assessed by a physical therapist, athletic trainer, or structural integrator to decrease wear and tear on your joints. And, a well-fitted pair of running/walking shoes is a must.
Most of us won't run, walk, or crawl even a half marathon. However, getting involved in a local 5K community event is a kick and inspiration to keep moving. I slogged and wheezed through the Issaquah Salmon Days Fun Run two years ago. The course was filled with toddlers and septuagenarians, friends who chatted as they walked, and families pushing strollers. It doesn’t have to be about big challenges or competitions, just small personal victories and some fun.
The skinny on community, not-necessarily-competitive, walk/run events:
Seattle, Sun., March 16 – St. Patrick’s Day Dash, 3 ½ mile run, walk, or crawl, https://secure.getmeregistered.com/get_information.php?event_id=1227
St. Louis, Sat., March. 15 – St. Patrick’s Day Parade Run, 5 mile, http://www.irishparade.org/run/
San Diego, Fri., March 14 – Marine Corp. St. Patrick’s Day 3 mile Fun Run (open to civilians, too), http://www.mccsmcrd.com/Forms_Polls/Fun_Runs/St_Patricks_Day/St_Pats_Race_Registration.aspx
Nationwide, Year round – Silver Sneakers, http://www.silversneakers.com/Default.aspx?section=About&subsection=SSClasses