A little bit of exercise each day adds up to brand new habits

Wayne Little's monthly column of dedication and fitness motivation.

Even Gumby runs! These are a few of the joggers

Even Gumby runs! These are a few of the joggers

For the last three years I have participated in a December run challenge. The challenge simply states you have to run or walk at least one mile per day every day for the month of December.

The kind people who organize the Dirty Feet race series out of Kamloops give out drawprizes to eligible people in the challenge. It’s a fantastic way to motivate people to get out moving and off the couch in the cold, dark winter days. Then by the time January hits, you’ll have the motivation to start your own personal challenge or look for your own goal to shoot for.

Finding the time to get out the door, especially around Christmas time can be challenging though. There is alot of things to do, and getting out for a run can sometimes be the least of your worries. You sometimes get your mile in at a very early time before the day starts, or right before going to bed when the kids are tucked away.

I believe that is the biggest challenge: it’s not the actual running, it’s how you schedule your day around when you will run your mile. But that is the key – once you find it out, the rest becomes easy.

I’m fascinated by all the stories and pictures throughout the month posted on the December run challenge facebook page of people getting out with their families for a walk, or hitting the trails with their dogs. Every day. I’m sure the people all find it challenging at first, but it then becomes part of their daily routine.

Like anything else though, there are some people who make these sort of challenges bigger.

There is something in the world of running called “Running Streaks”. By definition, someone who is in a running streak must have run, not walked, at least one mile every day for at least a year. Believe it or not, there are some people who have done just this, for a long time.

Jon Sutherland has run almost 50 years straight, every day. With over 190,000 miles logged so far, with an average of 11 miles/day. This is unbelievable.

There are some great stories to be heard about him including running through illness and running in the hospital after getting surgery. Sutherland says there is only one thing stopping him from his streak – Death.

Not only men compete in these streaks, there is a woman named Sue Favor from Los Angeles who has run every day for over 30 years. Now 48 years old, she has run every day since she was 17 years old. She uses running to self-medicate herself from depression.

As hard as it sounds for a man to accomplish this crazy challenge, just think of what it would mean for a woman. If you have children, you have to run (not walk) one mile, the day you will give birth, then run the day after giving birth.

Some say that “Streakers” are doing damage to themselves. But they look around and see overweight people, and people abusing drugs and think not.

One of their famous quotes is – “Starting a running streak is easy, stopping is hard.”

Wayne Little