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Weaver's walking feat: 5,000 days on road

October 01, 2009|By JANET HEIM

It's hard to know how to describe Mike Weaver. You could call him a man obsessed, or maybe it's better to say he's a man with a healthy habit.

Either way, Weaver, 60, has clocked thousands of miles since beginning his daily quest to walk five miles. On Sept. 27, he marked the 5,000th consecutive day he's walked at least five miles -- a streak that began Jan. 20, 1996.

He said people thought he might take a break once he hit the 5,000 mark, but he's not.

"It's a driving force in my life," Weaver said of his walking. A family history of diabetes and heart disease, which Weaver has eluded so far, also drives his walking.

"I'm fortunate that walking keeps me healthy or that I'm healthy enough to keep walking," Weaver said.

He likes to walk first thing in the morning, so if plans are to head somewhere by 6 a.m., Weaver will set the alarm for 4 a.m. to make sure he gets his 90-minute walk in.

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His walks have taken place in rain, snow and ice, or shine. Weaver resorted to mall walking for 10 days only because of a sinus and tooth infection and can attest to how hard of a surface mall concourses are.

An accountant by trade, but not working now, Weaver's recordkeeping involves many dates, numbers and places. He has walked at least 5 miles in 23 states, Washington, D.C., Canada and France.

A park in Kearney, Neb., off of Interstate 80, has the distinction of being Weaver's favorite walking spot.

Also memorable was an encounter with a park ranger on the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon. As Weaver headed down into the canyon, he passed the ranger and told him he planned to go down and up in one day, which is not recommended.

The ranger remarked that he had job security because of people like Weaver who most likely would have to be carried out of the canyon -- not realizing Weaver's stamina for hiking.

Weaver's sense of humor shines through in a David Letterman-like Top 9 List:

o No. 9 -- My excessive compulsive behavior will not allow me to quit.

o No. 8 -- What else do I have to do?

o No. 7 -- I have walked every day that my grandchildren have been alive (he has one grandson and three granddaughters).

o No. 6 -- I have not missed a day this century ... and so on.

He also compares his streak to retired Baltimore Orioles great Cal Ripken's record of 2,632 consecutive baseball games. By Weaver's calculations, on June 18, 2010, he will have doubled Ripken's streak.

At this point, Weaver shares some of his humorous insights from his walking in e-mails to his friends and hopes some day to turn them into a book.

In January 2010, it will be 14 years since Weaver's walking streak began. Some people tell him he's a role model for them, which he has a hard time accepting.

"The main thing is just get up and walk down the sidewalk to get started," Weaver said.

Weaver and his wife, Belinda, a Smithsburg Middle School teacher, live in Maugansville and have a grown daughter and son.

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