Dr. Philip Heit - The Long Haul

Marathon runner Dr. Philip Heit felt an unfamiliar, searing pain in his knees while out on a daily run a few years ago. In his third decade as a runner, he had never experienced such pain, and he realized that years of pounding on the pavement had taken its toll—he was forced to find an alternative to his daily run. He went on a walk to think it over and realized a solution was right in front of him when he picked up the pace.

“Why not walk instead of run?” Heit says,  “You can get your heart rate up to the same level as if you were running without putting all the wear on your body. Heart rate is heart rate—it doesn’t matter.”

After discovering the benefits of walking, Heit started inviting some people out with him for his new morning routine. The group grew at a fast pace, and Heit realized organization was needed. He formed the New Albany Walking Club, which ultimately led to his organization of the New Albany Walking Classic a few years later.

“It’s all about getting people out and doing something physical,” Heit says. “I think a lot of people never really realized the benefits of walking in relation to running.”

Heit, who can recall getting laughed at for running in Brooklyn in the seventies, before running had really caught on, thinks that our culture perceives walking in the same way that running used to be thought.

It even shows in people’s perception on the New Albany Walking Classic.

“There is this association between walking and walkathons for charity,” Heit says. “I tell people that the only charity you should walk for in the Classic is the one for you and your personal health.”

For more information on the New Albany Walking Classic, go to www.newalbanywalking classic.com