Running Towards Better Health: The Story of Fast Eddie
When Eddie Buchanan’s doctor told him he was going to be diabetic if he didn’t start making changes, he started hitting the pavement. “Fast Eddie’s” determination to keep running and help others achieve Lifelong Motion earned him a RO50 Runner’s Spotlight.
“Health got me started, life kept me running.” That is what Eddie told us when we spoke with him about his journey to start running. When Eddie was 57, he went to have his annual physical. His primary care physician said, “I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, Eddie, but you ARE going to be diabetic in the next couple of years.” Having a family history of diabetes, he asked if there was anything he could do to keep it away. The doctor recommended he start a vigorous exercise program.
Set on beating that diagnosis, Eddie called up his best friend Andy, who had been begging Eddie to run with him. They met up at 5:30 the next morning, and that’s how it all started. “I didn’t like running,” said Eddie, “but I knew what I had to do.” Eddie struggled the first couple of weeks with sore muscles and trying to get his wind, but Andy was always there to help.
After a couple of months, Andy insisted that he and Eddie sign up and run a 5K race called the Seaside Shuffle in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Eddie adamantly refused, but his friend was insistent, so he ended up running the race with him. During the race, Eddie caught the runner’s bug. “As slow as I was, when I crossed the finish line, I was hooked!” he said. He and Andy kept running together to practice, participating in 5K races, and Eddie worked on getting faster.
When he went back to his primary care physician the following year, the doctor was amazed and thrilled that Eddie’s blood sugar count, blood pressure, and resting heart rate had all gone down. He was told to keep it up. But they ran into a roadblock when Andy was involved in a biking accident that broke his collar bone.
With Andy out of commission, Eddie tried to train on his own but wasn’t sure he knew what he was doing. One day while out running repeats, he stumbled upon a team of younger adult runners practicing at the UNCW Track with their coach, who was calling out times and paces. Looking around, he knew he was definitely the senior citizen of the group, but that didn’t stop Eddie. “I knew at that moment that was what I wanted to be a part of,” Eddie thought as he walked over to meet the Coach, Tom Clifford, from Without Limits, when practice ended. “I said to him, ‘Do you take old guys?’ Tom asked me about my times, distances and goals. He told me to show up Tuesday morning at 5:45 AM, and that was it.”
That was 9 & ½ years ago. Since his start, Eddie has run 65 races: 5-mile, 5K, and 10K. Over the years, he became known as “Fast Eddie” for running a sub-20-minute 5K and a 20-minute flat 5k race when he was 61 years old. He won the North Carolina USATF State 5K Championship in the 60 and older age group at 61, placed 2nd in Senior Grand Master division at the North Carolina Road Runners State Championship when he was 63, and placed 2nd in the US Track and Field 1 Mile North Carolina State Championship race for the 60 to 65 age group when he was 64.
When we asked about how he stays so dedicated to running, he told us about his 3 “tions”: Motivation, Determination and Exhilaration. “Find a run companion or better join a run team. That helps you build commitment and accountability. On days you are less motivated, you will show up because people are waiting for you. It’s a wonderful way to stay motivated and workout with others as a team.”
Eddie’s new goal is to qualify locally to run in the North Carolina 5K state Championship Senior Games this Fall. He also started a pet project, Lifelong Motion, an organization dedicated to support healthy lifestyles for Maturing Adults Age 55+ through education, communication and community involvement. “If I can help a few people to improve their health and lives, that’s what’s important to me!” says Eddie. He wants to share with others that you can improve your quality of life and stay in motion no matter your age – a message we sure can get behind!
Running Over 50 Spotlight Runner Profile
Name: Eddie Buchanan
Running Style: Competitive Running
Follow At: LifeLong Motion