“You Just Go”
By Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer
‘‘You really don’t think. You just go.”
So sayeth Ed Wehan, a 75-years-young ultra-runner who is still going strong. He’s been running most of his life, but his best numbers he probably put up in the latter half. He ran his best marathon at 40, and was setting course records well into that decade. In his 50s, he came in third in the Rose City 50 miler in Portland, Oregon — six months after major surgery. Decades later, he continues to clock up the miles. His pace today isn’t what it once was, perhaps, but he’s still a force to be reckoned with . . . and in better shape than most people a third his age.
Age, as they say, ain’t nothing but a number. And the stories in this month’s Health and Wellness issue attest to that.
Anyone who does laps at the Ventura Aquatic Center on Kimball Road has probably run into Jim McConica — if you’re a morning person, that is. He hits the pool at first light every day, and is known for his grueling workouts. He missed the Olympics by a hair, but has been setting records in the U.S. Masters Swimming program for decades, starting in his 30s. Did we mention his open-water swims across both the English and the Santa Barbara channels? Or his relay race from Santa Barbara to San Diego? At age 68, he continues to encourage and inspire other swimmers . . . and set records.
Tracie Johnstone Currie is, at 51, far younger than these other two athletes — but in a sport like tennis, the senior circuit starts early. And while she was formidable in her younger years, this next chapter is just as impressive: more than a dozen national titles to her name, a world title in mixed doubles, and three appearances at the World Cup International Team Championships. When she’s not in competition, she’s taking the next generation to the net, coaching the boys and girls tennis teams at Ventura High School.
Health and fitness is so often correlated with youth that it’s easy to forget that the love of sport, the drive to compete, the benefits of getting out there and moving don’t go away after so many changes of the calendar. Yes, Wehan, McConica and Currie set an unusually high bar . . . but you don’t have to set a record to keep doing the things you love — or going for it with something new. There’s no permission to be granted, no need for justifications.
Take a page from Ed Wehan’s book: Don’t think — just go.