Sports

This former couch potato has a message for the rest of us: Go run! It’ll do you good

After the finish of his first 5K since high school, David White, rear, celebrates with, from left, Carrie Mandella, Rachel Womack and Joseph Lindvall on Saturday, April 13, 2019 in Porterville.
After the finish of his first 5K since high school, David White, rear, celebrates with, from left, Carrie Mandella, Rachel Womack and Joseph Lindvall on Saturday, April 13, 2019 in Porterville. Special to The Bee

Run.

Dash for a cause. Jog just because. Whatever you do, don’t just sit there on the soda-stained sectional watching others do something on the telly with their physical wellbeing.

Double-knot ’em up and make your own run at better health, for a better life, because the reaper takes the silver behind no one but Jesus.

You’d be amazed at what you can do.

On Dec. 5, a Porterville doctor told her newest patient he had Type 2 diabetes. The blood-sugar reading was 558 when 120 would have sufficed. She said I was drinking away my toes, kidney and middle-aged years, one Pepsi two-liter at a swig.

Something had to change. A lifetime after watching athletes run away from the field gave me a ridiculous idea.

It was time for me to run down diabetes, outrun my fork and extend the race in front of me.

So, this 204-pound sportswriter with a bad left knee ran for 273 miles in 112 days, until there was only 166 pounds left of him.

Saturday morning was spent running a 5K race for the first time since 1989, my junior year on the Selma High cross country team.

The race’s cause was the Porterville Pregnancy Center, an incredible local agency that helps young moms-to-be on their parenting journey.

The real cause was me. Yours should be you. Your health matters, because your life matters. It matters for you, and it matters for everyone around you.

So run, or walk, or swim, or jump like jacks. Go ride a bike, or climb a hill, or whatever it takes to get you into a shape other than pear.

So what if you finish sixth in a field of 11 gents, and get passed by a 12-year-old named Knautilus and a None-Of-Your-Business-year-old grandma named Lucy?

Who cares if your personal-best 5K time of 29:35 wouldn’t have beat the 10K winner?

You’ll always want to quit. You’ll always be glad you didn’t.

We don’t have to be as fast as Usain Bolt, or as historic as Pheidippides (stay awake in history class next time, would you?).

You just have to decide to be a better version of you than you’ve ever been.

Be Joseph Lindvall, a 24-year-old EMT taking second in his first 5K. Be Rachel Womack, a 36-year-old Cross Fit mother who outran her pastor to the finish line.

Life is catching up on all of us. You don’t have to take it sitting.

Start with a walk around the block after dinner. Take the laundry off your treadmill and give it a jog. It never gets easier, but you’ll only get better.

Pick a benefit run and give it a spin. Do what Alice Escalante did. Walk for 4.9K and run like a gazelle when the crowd sees you turn the last corner.

Hear total strangers cheer you on at the halfway point. High-five your friends waiting for you at the inflatable finish line.

Let others walk away with trophies and gift cards. You’ll be glad to know you’re walking away better than when you started.

Do that, and you’ll be as great an athlete as anyone you’re watching on TV from your couch.

David White is a former Fresno Bee staff writer and NFL beat writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, now a pastor and Sunday sports columnist for The Bee: bydw@sbcglobal.net, @bydavidwhite

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