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Featured Folks: Week #8

Rollie Woods
64, Retired Machinist for Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel

Rollie Woods was first introduced to running. In the early 1990's he ran for the Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Run for Steel. The second year of this event was held at the Wheeling-Pitt Yorkville Plant. Rollie continued to run when the event was held at Weirton Steel and Bethlahem Steel in Baltimore but would come in 10th - 12th in his age group. That was when Rollie decided to start race walking instead. When he started race walking there weren't any races in this area and he often traveled to Marietta and Parkersburg to walk. He has been walking since 1993.

Rollie walks 5-7 days a week and walks 5-6miles a day. He has since gotten his grandson, Jonathan interested in walking and he often races with Rollie too. Recently they both finished first in their respective age groups at the Ogden 20k Classic.

When questioned about his love of walking, Rollie gave the following answers:

Why do you walk? I walk because I really like it. Walking helps me to relieve stress and to feel better. I walked before I retired and now that I am retired I am always busy doing something but I always find the time to walk.

Why do you love walking? I love to walk at Ogelbay Park, I like the hills, the scenery and the fact that there is no traffic to worry about. I especially like to walk in the morning and prefer competitive race walking in the morning too.

What is your toughest obstacle to walking? The wind and the rain are the toughest obstacles for me. I don't walk indoors so when the road gets plowed in the winter, then I go. I have tried a treadmill but it doesn't appeal to me.

What is your best advice for new walkers? Anyone can walk! I think we need more walking events so that more people will participate. Competition is tough but it keeps you going and there are always people in the races that are just there for the walk so whatever you prefer - there is something for you.

What is the coolest benefit of walking? Walking really keeps you in shape. I weighed 240-245 pounds but now I weigh 210 without dieting! I just walk and eat regular meals and my weight has taken care of itself.

What is your biggest surprise about walking? I am so surprised to be winning as a competitive walker. I won my first race in 1993 and I am still walking because it is fun and keeps my interest. Who would think that walking could do that?

Although Rollie is a competitive walker, he has much in common with the average walker. He walks because he enjoys it, it helps to relieve his stress, and he has stabilized his weight without really trying. And the best part is that Rollie spends quality time with his grandson, Jonathan. They walk together during training and share their competitive experiences. We thank Rollie for joining Wheeling Walks and hope that his experience can be an incentive for everyone to start walking - first ten minutes, then twenty minutes, until you are walking 30 minutes or more on almost every day. Isn't it time you started walking?

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