It was 40 years this month that Robert Valentine, at the behest of his wife, went to the doctor for a check-up.
“He says, ‘Bob what are you doing for exercise?’ ” Valentine recalled. “I said, ‘Well, I’m carrying my own briefcase.’ ”
The doctor wasn’t amused. He advised Valentine to walk an hour each day. It must have been a whale of a sales pitch.
On his 52nd birthday — Feb. 26, 1978 — Valentine began putting one foot in front of the other, dutifully recording every mile in a yearly planner. As those planners piled up in his Moraga home, so did his mileage. He staged his 25,000th mile on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1997. For his 45,000th mile in July 2013, he treated himself to a fleece vest embroidered with his name and the number.
“My milestone is to make it to 50,000,” he said Monday, relaxing beside his beloved Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail. “I think we’ve got a good chance of making that happen.”
He’s already planned the party, sending invitations to family members and friends to meet him on the trail Feb. 24 at 1 p.m., when he will walk the final two miles. At that point, one month from his 92nd birthday, he will have made the equivalent of two trips around the Earth.
“I’m sure the only reason I’m still here on this planet is because of this damn walking,” said Valentine, who likes to punctuate his comments with a laugh.
Born in South Dakota and raised in Washington, Valentine hit the ground walking. His first job was delivering the Seattle Times newspaper for $4.07 per month. He was 11. He drove trucks for eight summers while putting himself through school. He attended Whitman College in Walla Walla for two years, where he played football.
“I liked to get those big guys and knock them on their (behinds),” he said, laughing.
He graduated from Harvard business school in 1953 and says he “sold big trucks” for a living. He and his wife, Jewel, had four children, who had 14 grandchildren, who have had five great-grandchildren with one on the way. He lost Jewel three years ago. “She was a prize,” he said softly.
He has maintained his walk of life through grief, retirement, seven presidential administrations, inflation, recession, scandal, war, the rise and demise of the pager, global warming and the advent of the internet.
Sometimes he likes to listen to music. Johnny …read more
Source:: East Bay – Health