Everyone loves a love story. This one has a healthy twist. A year ago my friend Megan’s daughter enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago. Brooke moved to the windy city and lasted about two weeks there. All that jazz just wasn’t for her. But during that two-week period she went out for a 5K run with a bunch of people who had something in common, they were all following a blog by a guy named Ben who was from Arkansas. Whenever Ben happened to be speaking in a town, he would hold a meet up. Some of his Do Life blog followers would then meet up at the appointed place, run or walk a bit and then eat a healthy meal together. When Ben met Brooke in Chicago, they sparked and began to do life together.
In 2008, Ben promised his grandmother (he calls her Meemaw), that he would lose some weight. On his web site, there’s a video that documents his 120 pound journey. Since the video went viral on YouTube, Ben is speaking in quite a few cities and has acquired quite a following. In fact, he just finished a 32 city cross-country “Do Life” tour (with one dip into Canada) with his Dad (he calls him Pa) and his brother Jed (he calls him a tool). My friend Megan and I showed up at the final stop in Seattle where I ran (well, half ran, half walked) my first 5K in over a decade. There were about sixty of us; singles and families, young and old, in all shapes and sizes, chugging and chatting our way around Green Lake. We all went to Whole Foods after for some chow.
That’s what Ben does, he inspires people to get out and exercise and eat healthy food. With obesity and diabetes at epidemic levels in both the US and Canada, he is serving us all well and setting a fine example. Yesterday he finished his second Iron Man. Brooke was there, celebrating her 24th birthday, and giving us a blow-by-blow of the race on Ben’s blog.
So what happens next in the love story? Well, Brooke is attending art school in Vancouver. Rumour has it, Ben will be writing a book this summer somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Congratulations Iron Ben! And happy birthday Brooke!