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New year is a time to make some changes

Published January 06. 2017 09:34PM

This time of year, most people are trying to keep those New Year’s resolutions. I admit it. I don’t usually make any resolutions because I can’t keep them anyway. But this year, I’ve decided to give it a try.

Why the change of heart? Well, sometimes you’re just inspired.

In December, I started making a list of all the things I want to do in my life.

Sure, you could call it a bucket list, but really I just didn’t want to forget any of my ideas. It’s way too easy to let an idea vanish. I don’t want to look back 10, 20 or 30 years from now and regret not doing the things on my list.

I’ve also been inspired by my second-cousin Bill Sycalik.

Bill heard that the National Park Service was celebrating its 100th anniversary on Aug. 25, 2016. Their Twitter slogan #findyourpark really resonated with him, so he decided to act on it. And sometimes you just have to say it’s “now or never.”

An avid runner, Bill decided to take a timeout from his career and founded the National Parks Marathon Project. Since June, he has been running a marathon in each of the national parks. His goal is to reach 59 national parks in about a year, and so far he has gone to 29 of them.

“I believe that a marathon is long enough for us to become aware of ourselves. Stress, anxiety, problems — they all fall away when running long distances,” Bill said in the bio section of his website http://www.runningtheparks.com. “You realize your capability. You connect with your true personal nature.”

I’ve never been a runner, but I decided to walk at least two 5K races this year. (My family doesn’t think that’s much of a challenge. What they don’t realize is that the first challenge is just to allow myself to push everything else aside to make time for something other than work, cleaning and cooking.) My goal then is to participate in fundraiser walks/runs to raise money for Alzheimer’s disease research and for lymphoma and leukemia research.

Last year, there were three Alzheimer’s walks and races in the area: East Stroudsburg University in September; and two in October at Mauch Chunk Lake Park, Jim Thorpe and ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, Bethlehem. The 2017 events aren’t up yet on the Alzheimer’s website, www.alz.org, but I’m keeping an eye on it.

As far as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I haven’t found any 5K walks or races, just 10K, half-marathons and marathons. If I can’t find anything, then I guess I’ll work up to a 10K race for 2018.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to learn more about Bill’s adventure, links to YouTube, Facebook Twitter and Instagram are at http://www.runningtheparks.com/follow.

If you plan to take a vacation to a national park, he’d welcome some company running the marathon.

“Reach out. I would love to connect with you,” Bill said. “Follow the (Twitter) hashtag #runningtheparks for latest news and location.”

Haven’t planned a trip to a national park? Maybe you should make it one of your New Year’s resolutions.

Check out www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial to learn more about the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.

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