26.2 for Healthy Schools Campaign

September 19, 2008

Today we have a guest blog from Peter Sagal, the quick-witted host of NPR’s humorous weekly quiz show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and national team captain of HSC’s charity athletics team.

Hello, I’m Peter, and I was a fat kid.

[Response: Hello, Peter.]

The playwright Jonathan Reynolds has a line in one of his plays that
goes something like: “If, at any time in your life, you were
overweight, you will spend the rest of your life obsessing about it.”
This has been true in my experience. I was a chubby, inactive kid,
always picked last to play kickball, always dreading gym, constantly
overeating, because, I guess, that was one physical activity I could do
well. I lost the weight in high school, during a dangerously obsessive
period of dieting, then gained a lot of it back, and then spent, oh,
the next twenty years gaining the weight, losing the weight, and
constantly kicking my own behind about it, which is hard to do with
love-handles.

Then, about four years ago, I started running seriously, and that
turned into an lifestyle change, or obsession, or addiction, depending
on how miserable it is outside at 6 AM when I head out to do the miles.
On October 12th, I’m going to run my fourth consecutive Chicago
Marathon, my fifth marathon overall. My goal is to run it (again) under
3 hours, twenty minutes, 59 seconds, and thus re-qualify for the Boston
Marathon in April.

But that’s not the only reason I’m running it. I’m also running it
because of the interesting hallucinations that tend to kick in around
mile 23. But that’s not all! I’m also running as the honorary Team Captain for the Healthy Schools Campaign,
a Chicago based non-profit that works to improve nutrition and exercise
programs in schools. This to me makes wonderful sense, because what a
kid learns while young stays with her. Despite the evidence in my own
home, I don’t believe the natural state of the human child is to lounge
on the couch watching “Lazytown” whilst eating chicken fingers. I think
kids can be taught that good food is delicious, and that physical
activity is far, far more than just another way to separate the cliques
in school. Kids naturally want to run, and they naturally want to eat
what’s healthy. We’ve managed to someone train that out of them, and
HSC does its best to undo the damage.

Learn how you can run a race with HSC or check out my fundraising page, where you can make a donation to help me (and HSC) cross the finish line and make a real impact.