The first time I interviewed Mike McCluskey, I thought he was a tiny bit crazy, but I'm starting to understand him.
Mike is from Wasaga Beach and is a runner. Big time. He has taken part in the Boston marathon a bunch of times. (note: to run the Boston marathon, you have to qualify at some Other marathon. I think you have to qualify each and every time. So, for my friend Nancy, who's run Boston more than a dozen times, that's what, five million miles?) The latest time we talked, Mike was preparing for the 30k Around the Bay in Hamilton. He was using the race to raise money for the YMCA in Wasaga Beach. Did I mention Mike's in his 60s?
I freely admit I took up running at the tender age of 41 because my pants were getting too tight. There was more to it, too, but preparing for and running my first 5k forced me to buy the shoes and hit the trails. I ran the sporting life 10k a few weeks ago as a way of keeping off the 25 pounds I lost in that first effort.
But I have no explanation for this latest race. No explanation other than I kind of love having a race in my future. January to Mother's Day, when I was training for Sporting Life, I felt a sense of purpose that is sometimes missing from my everyday routine. One of the girls who ran that race with me apparently feels the same way. She started started running even later in life than I, but it appears she's hooked, too. Today, she's on the streets of Barrie, sweating out her kilometres, while I lumber and lope down the trails in Collingwood, both of us planning for the next race.
On Father's Day, our sweethearts will be in Michele's garage, puffing away on Cuban cigars while we pant our way around the Barrie Waterfront.
They say once you have three of a thing, you're a collector. I will have a third 'race shirt' after Barrie. Boston's a very, very long way off, but I can see the path which opens toward it.