Waldlaw Blog

Friday, August 11, 2006

Taking Inspiration from The Pumpkin Runner

I was walking to pick up my mail and drop off my dry cleaning yesterday, and found myself thinking about The Pumpkin Runner. The Pumpkin Runner (http://www.marshadianearnold.com/bookgallery/pumpkinrunner.html) is a wonderful children's book by Marsha Diane Arnold, based on the true story of an Australian cattle farmer named Cliff Young. Cliff Young, at the age of 61, decided to run the first annual 500-mile ultra-marathon from Melbourne to Sydney. He trained by running around his farm in his gumboots, herding his cattle. Although he was ridiculed when he entered the race -- given his age and his lack of formal running experience -- he went on not only to win the race but to cut two days off the record for a race that distance. After winning, he shared his cash prize with all the other 10 racers. What I have always loved about The Pumpkin Runner -- since I first read it to my boys when they were in preschool -- was the message that we can be fit and healthy by just doing what we have to do anyway in a more mindful, athletic way. Forget driving to the gym to work out, as so many of us do these days -- just get out there and walk briskly, run and/or ride a bike to the grocery store, the post office, school, work, wherever.... And so, yesterday, I marched out of my house with a napsack on my back, needing to pick up my office mail, do a little grocery shopping, drop off my dry cleaning. I brought my chocolate lab with me for company, and we walked briskly around Twin Peaks, over Tank Hill, through Cole Valley, then home. The circuit took about an hour and a half, and as my backpack got fuller with stuff I'd picked up along the way, the cardiovascular workout got more significant. I arrived home out of breath but happy and feeling good about the fact that instead of driving to do my errands and then "working out," I had taken heed of Cliff Young's message -- saved some gas -- gotten my work done -- and gotten some sunshine and exercise to boot. So do yourself a favor -- read The Pumpkin Runner and then get out there and walk ... run ... bike your way through your day. You may not win an ultra-marathon, but it sure feels good....


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