A Illinois senior citizen is running the “Old Mother Road” from Chicago to Santa Monica to inspire other senior citizens to live a active and full lifestyle after their retirement.
“I was going to be 71 on July 21, 2009 and it seemed like a good idea to run Route 66,” said Emory Duick, of Des Plaines, Ill.
Duick said he has traveled Route 66 many times to see his brother, Daniel Duick, of Flagstaff, Ariz.. He always thought “Running the Old Mother Road would be quite an experience.”
“I did not want to spend my golden years sitting around watching TV and eating,” Duick said with a laugh. “I wanted to be out there doing something with my time.”
Duick said while he has been on this run he has encountered other seniors who have shared his feelings about staying active and that has strengthened his resolve.
On Thursday, Duick visited with senior citizens at the Tucumcari Senior Citizens Center.
While running through Missouri a woman approached Duick and told him “that she too did not know what she was going to do now that she was retired.”
“She told me that she was going to be active,” Duick said. “She was not going to sit around, she was going to live life to the fullest.”
Duick said this run is not about him. He said the main purpose is to inspire other senior citizens to be active and not just sit around in retirement.
Joining Duick on this run is his 31-year-old daughter Lauren Duick, who has been his navigator, travel companion and greatest supporter.
“She has been wonderful,” Emory said. “She handles all the high-tech part of this trip. I am not what you would call tech savy. I just got my first cell phone at the start of this trip.”
Lauren said she has traveled with her father and stayed with him in the canvas pop-up travel trailer they pull behind their car.
“She has never really been out in the wild,” Emory said. “She does not do bugs, animals and outdoors very well. But she has stuck in there with me this entire time. Sometimes I think that is the real story. How strong she has become.”
Duick said his message to seniors and encouraging them not to vegetate, be active and participate in life is the driving force of the run.
However, he said ultimately his true goal is to have the satisfaction of running the mother road and building a scrap book of memories with his daughter.
“My brother said ‘I would not make it out of the Ozarks Mountains of Missouri,’” Emory said. “Yet here I am in New Mexico. You would think he would sway over to my side now. Instead he said I have to get out of the mountains of New Mexico.”
Duick said he plans on continuing his run as long as possible. He said he is just going to take it one day at a time, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.