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Weaver in step with health goals

August 05, 2005|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ...

Mike Weaver


Age - 56

Occupation - Accountant

Hometown - Maugansville

Where would you see Weaver? - Weaver is on a streak, having walked five miles every day since Jan. 20, 1996 - rain or shine. His route - Gardenview Road to Cearfoss Pike to Reiff Church Road - is one he probably could walk in his sleep.

"The streak is something I pride myself on," Weaver said. "I've been able to keep it alive - hopefully it keeps me healthy. You have to be committed."

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Weaver admits the streak only is possible because of good health, but said walking has enabled him to continue without injury, while running might have taken a toll on his knees over the years.

He's come to know the people who live on his route. Weaver said sometimes it takes him 2 to 21/2 hours to complete his walk when he stops to chat, up to an hour longer than it takes without stops.

"The people on the route are just great. I have a lot of good friends around," said Weaver, who likes to get an early start. "At first, they wondered what kind of weirdo keeps walking around."

Walking and hiking are important to Weaver, who enjoys nature and being outdoors. He also is hoping to stave off the diabetes and heart disease that run in his family.

Weaver - who smoked two to three packs of cigarettes a day for 17 years - quit smoking more than 20 years ago after his doctor told him he had early signs of emphysema, a diagnosis that came on his daughter's 6th birthday.

An accountant by trade, Weaver can't help but work the numbers for his walking. On April 5, 2003, he celebrated the 2,633rd consecutive day, breaking Cal Ripken's record of 2,632 consecutive baseball games, a feat Weaver accomplished on a foggy day at Green Ridge State Forest, where he and his wife have a log cabin.

Weaver's family marked the milestone with cake - on which "Cal, Eat My Dust!" was written - and took photos that his sister turned into a scrapbook. His next goal is to reach his 10-year milestone, which will be Jan. 19, 2006.

July 1, 1995, is the date Weaver actually decided to start walking five miles daily, but he allowed himself to make up days he missed. When he got so far behind there was no way to catch up - missing 11 days after the blizzard in January 1996 - he vowed never to miss a day again.

By his calculations, Weaver has walked almost 3,500 consecutive days, for a total mileage of close to 17,500 miles. He has covered enough ground to have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail - something Weaver would like to do - more than eight times.

Weave had his gear packed, ready to start the trail in Maryland on March 7 and continue to Georgia.

He got cold feet, though, when he considered the loneliness, the 12 hours of darkness and cold he would face, but most of all, how much he would miss his wife, Belinda, a teacher at Smithsburg Middle School. The couple met in high school and have been married 34 years, have a grown daughter and son, and one grandson.

A 1966 graduate of North Hagerstown High School, Weaver studied data processing at Hagerstown Junior College. He then earned a degree in business administration with a major in accounting at the University of Maryland, College Park, taking night classes, followed by an MBA at Mount St. Mary's while working at Fairchild Rohrer.

Weaver has "adopted" Reiff Church Road - his grandparents and uncle are buried in the cemetery behind the Mennonite church there - and picks up cans and trash along that stretch of his walk, often collecting 10 to 20 cans each day.

The cans are delivered to an 86-year-old neighbor, who recycles them and gives the money to his church. Weaver also moves dead animals to the side of the road. In the fall, he collects leftover corn from the fields and takes it to the deer at Green Ridge.

Weaver Road in Maugansville was named after his grandfather, who owned and farmed land there. Mike Weaver was born in his grandfather's old farmhouse and has lived most of his life in Maugansville, except for the first year of his life, when his family lived in Hagerstown, and for 11 years when he lived in Gaithersburg, Md.

Weaver, his wife and children moved back to Maugansville in 1981 after building a home on a piece of the family property on Greenfield Avenue.

Hobbies - Weaver likes to hike, even after doing his daily walk. "I just like to walk anytime," he said.

He loves to play tennis and enjoys hunting, mainly because he likes being in the woods.

What does Weaver like best about Washington County? - "I tell you, I like Western Maryland. The weather's not extreme any one season. The change of seasons, the variety, it's beautiful," said Weaver, who is fond of the wooded, rolling hills. "Wherever you grew up is special, the tie to this land especially."




If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024, or send e-mail to janeth@herald-mail.com.

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