Walking fast and not coming in last

Friday, August 24, 2012

Provider Scott Lloyd sent me an email recently saying, “Here is an HME feel good story waiting to happen.” Attached was the July 2012 edition of Footnotes, “the award winning publication of the Knoxville Track Club.”

Are you confused as to what all of this has to do with HME? So was I.

But on p. 26, below a headline that reads “Coming Labor Day 2012: Hal Canfield Memorial Mile and 5 Miler” was a picture of an older gentleman participating in a 1-mile event using a rollator. Or as Chip, a friend of Scott’s and a member of the track club, described it: “a walker with wheels.”

Unbelievable, right?

Not only was this gentleman participating in a running event using a rollator, but he was doing it in style wearing dress pants, a button down shirt, a Mr. Rogers-like cardigan and a hat to protect himself from the sun (runners are at a greater risk of skin cancer, you know!).

Chip shared with Scott these details about the gentleman: “He is 92 years old. He used to be a runner, but he can’t do it anymore. He does 1- to 3-mile events around Knoxville using that walker—and walking pretty fast. Let’s just say I have not seen him come in last.”

I’d like to know more. What kind of rollator does he use, and how many does he go through in, say, a year? Also, what keeps him motivated to stay so active (as someone who struggles to get out of bed each morning to go for a 4-mile run)? We’ve emailed Chip and we’re trying to track him down (no pun intended).

Now that I think of it, this gentleman reminds me of the older woman I often see during my morning runs who’s walking her small dog (think Toto in the Wizard of Oz) with help from a portable oxygen concentrator. (Coincidentally, I usually see her toward the end of my run as I’m schlepping up a hill, so it’s a good kick in the butt.)

I don’t know either this gentleman or this woman, but they’ve shown me that it’s pretty amazing what you can accomplish when you have some heart and the right tools at your disposal.