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Relishing the rarified hour

Published 8:12pm Thursday, October 10, 2013

Though my newsroom colleagues consider me an earlier riser, I’m a daily newspaper journalist with an 11-week-old daughter, and those are two good reasons not to be.

Like everything else in life, whether or not the hour is wee is a relative thing. A dairy farmer might scoff at someone rising at 6, while most others would consider that boot camp.

Last Saturday, I was glad to be up and about at what seemed like the crack of dawn. The sky gradually lost its grayness as I drank my coffee on the deck, giving the border collie a scratch behind her ears.

We don’t live in a particularly noisy place, but it was nice to relax for a moment without listening to the sounds of the suburbs. No lawn mowers or ice cream trucks playing a tinny tune.

What had drawn me out of bed at this crazy hour was the Peanut Fest 5K Run/Walk and 1-Mile Walk. Perhaps due to my reputation as an early bird, responsibility for covering the morning event had fallen on these shoulders.

Arriving at Constant’s Wharf shortly before an air horn signaled the event’s 7:30 a.m. start, I was surprised to see how many folks had braved what could be considered an early morning for the sake of their well being.

Between the parking lots of the Hilton Garden Inn and the Visitor Center across the road, not a vacant spot was to be had. I was lucky that a kind manager at the Hilton let me park outside the front door.

The October air was crisp and clean. Out the back of the hotel, a sea of folks limbered up and chatted in small groups.

According to Robbie Laughton, executive director of its sponsor Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community, the event enjoyed healthy numbers. The 827 pre-registrations, he said, doubled those of past such events.

I’m sure some of those folks had second thoughts about participating when the bedside alarms sounded, but I’m equally sure very few later regretted having marshaled their willpower and risen for the occasion.

Everyone seemed pretty happy to me, anyhow.

Event organizers are to be congratulated for demonstrating to so many people the payoffs of getting up early for a walk or run.

Payoffs beyond the experience of a new day are experienced when it becomes a habit.

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