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We Were Running Then but Staggering Today?

Date: 
06/06/2018 - 08:26

By Wayne Bennett
Arkansas Running Klub
North Little Rock, AR

(This article was first published in the June issue of Ark Rundown.)

In the early 1980's a club was born. One morning I found myself at lake number three running with a group of the charter members of the Arkansas Running Klub. We were running as a very close group because a very serious question had been posed. What are we doing? What is the correct definition of what we are doing?

The discussion went on as we cooled down from our six mile run. When we finally started home we had come to the conclusion that we were running. It was decided that an 8 minute mile pace would be running, but if it were over 8 minute miles that would be considered jogging. We didn't get a copyright for coming up with those terms even though we did have a lawyer or two in the group.

Recently several of us in my age group were talking about this very thing. None of us remember who coined this word. We don't run and we don't jog! We hurry!! I have tried to identify who gets credit for the new term but I can't find anyone that remembers the conversation or who was present.

My family recently put this descriptive term to good use in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, as a 5-member relay race team. The collective age of our team was 279 years. My daughter had done the relay before with a group of school teachers, so she knew the way it would work. We completed the 26.2 miles in 5 hours & 6 minutes, an average of about 11.5 minute miles.

The night before the race, we checked into a new hotel close to the start line. They would have a shuttle running each hour on race day, and you had to get on the list to get a seat. First two for race day were full, the third would arrive just before the gun fired. It only had two seats left. Daughter Shuree lead off with a 10k and then wife Minnie Raye would do 5k, so they got those seats. Granddaughter Reagan did a 7.6 mile segment handing off to her dad, and my son Rodney, who would do a 5k before handing off to me at the 20 mile mark. I managed to keep from walking the whole way and passed many runners who were doing the complete mara-thon. I hurried the whole way and was accused of staggering after the finish.

When my house was being built, one of the guys on the brick laying crew was 90 years old. One morning when I greeted him with, “How are you doing?" he said, "Oh, I'm staggering pretty good today.”

Is that what we have evolved into, staggering? Sounds catchy to me. I'm sure my age group will concur. If anyone dissents, no one will remember who it was. So as we stagger on toward different degrees of ineptitude, please run if you can. If you can't run or jog, hurry. The stagger will come soon enough.

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