A veteran of The Daily News Boogie, Gord Cumming first laced up his sneakers more than a decade ago. He’s never looked back.
“I wanted to make sure I had a little edge on the younger guys playing soccer,” he said. “I didn’t want to come into the season out of shape.”
Since then, the former teacher turned vice principal at Westsyde secondary has run seven Boogies in a row and helped Run Club owner Jo Berry expand Boogie’s school programs.
“That was great because we got younger kids going (to Boogie) and I got my own kids doing it,” said Cumming.
When his children were young, Cumming and his wife would watch their kids do the one-kilometre mini-Boogie and then the adults would tackle the 10K. Now the children are older, the entire family runs the 5K Boogie.
Cumming has undertaken every Boogie distance except the half-marathon, which is what he’s training for this year.
“I’ve run so many half marathons in my life, but never Boogie half marathons. I’m kind of excited about it,” he said.
And why not the Boogie half marathon? He started coaching Sunday soccer, the same day as Boogie half-marathon training.
Now the time has come, and Cumming says he looks forward to the experience.
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The last time Jenn Rensch ran was in a Grade 10 gym class at Brocklehurst secondary. She hated it enough she never wanted to run again.
In fact, the only thing Rensch liked about running is she met one of her best friends, Melissa Hutchinson.
“I remember in high school that it didn’t feel like you were trained. If you didn’t enjoy running, you were left to your own accord,” said Rensch, who works the front desk at The Daily News.
Rensch never considered giving the exercise another try until she volunteered for The Daily News Boogie last year — working the 10K turnaround, cheering on runners, walkers and strollers. The atmosphere, with the live music and everyone dressed like pirates, was inspiring.
So, too, were the various ages and fitness levels of the participants, she said.
“I just thought, maybe this is something I could do,” said Rensch.
First she challenged herself to quit smoking and succeeded. Now, with a healthier set of lungs, Rensch will run again.
Her goal is 5K, although she’d love to take on 10K out the gate. Her ambitions are big, she said.
She hopes the discipline of running three times a week will get her into the routine of making exercise part of her lifestyle.
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At 72, Neville Flanagan knows how to run. In fact, he’s been using the activity to stay in shape for more than 40 years.
He ran his first marathon in Sydney, Aust., in 1968. There were 30 to 40 participants, which was a good turnout in those days, he said.
“I’ve just been active all my life,” said Flanagan. “It’s just something that I go and do. I don’t think I’m doing anything marvelous.”
Flanagan has run 24 marathons and he’s one of the founding members of the Kamloops Ridge Runners.
If he’s not running, he’s walking, working out or playing golf. He said it’s important to stay active.
He and his wife have been involved with The Daily News Boogie since its start in the late 1990s. They’ve missed a couple events because of travel, but when they are in town, they attend.
“I try to do it every year, as much as I can,” he said.
The goal this year is to run 10K, a distance that’s perfect for him. He intends to train on his own, which Flanagan doesn’t expect will be difficult given his four-day-a-week exercise schedule.
Age might have slowed him down, but it hasn’t stopped him, he said.
“I see age as just a number.”