Archive for Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Walking is local man’s priority

Despite setbacks, Cummings is still walking strong around Tonganoxie

October 11, 2000

For nearly 20 years, walking has been a way of life for Gordon Cummings.

He can be found walking along U.S. Highway 24-40, Fourth Street, Main Street and all around the city. With two patches on the insides of his knees, a ball cap on his head and a toothpick in mouth, Cummings is easily recognizable.

Cummings, who has lived in Tonganoxie since 1991, takes a walk whenever it fits into his schedule.

Since the early 1980s, Cummings has made it a priority to walk every day. Initially, walking was a way to lose weight and get in shape, but it's turned into more.

"It's a great chance to relax and let your mind wander," Cummings said. "I have hashed out a lot of things in my mind while out walking."

Cummings now walks five to six miles every day. But before his arthritis became a factor, he walked about eight miles a day.

"I had a tremendous year in 1995," Cummings said. "I walked almost 2,500 miles that year. That was the year I was getting reading for my 25th class reunion."

It takes him about 90 minutes to complete his five- to six-mile course each day. Cummings prefers walking around Tonganoxie to walking multiple laps around a track. To ease the pain, Cummings tapes magnets to the inside of his knees and takes medication.

The idea to get the magnets stemmed from a peddler that went to the doctor's office where his wife, Terri, worked.

"A little over four years ago, I almost had to quit," Cummings said. "I figured out the concept of taping them onto my knees. Now, there is relatively low pain."

With such a strong passion for walking, vacations also entail a little fitness fun. Wherever he vacations, he usually finds the time to do a little walking.

Cummings was born and raised in Topeka. He also has served in the Navy, including during the Vietnam War. He graduated from Washburn University in 1983 with a degree in corrections.

Sometimes rotating-shift schedule complicates his opportunities to get out and walk, but Cummings always tries to make time for his exercise and relaxation on his walking routes.

"I am out there having fun while everyone else is always rush, rush," Cummings said.

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