Patsy Hull is proof a long journey begins by putting one foot in front of the other.
She’s done it so many times she’s racked up 15,000 miles.
The 89-year-old Kennewick woman reached the milestone last month amid applause and fanfare from her Kadlec Healthy Ages fellow mall walkers, friends and family.
Hull, who turns 90 in August, walks six days a week inside Columbia Center mall in Kennewick. She rests on Sundays.
Hull said she’s walked most of her life, thanks to growing up on a farm. She said her father was “a real hiker” and she remembered walking five miles daily when she was a girl living near the California-Oregon border.
“So I’ve been walking all my life. It makes me feel better. It really does,” she said.
Hull is part of the Kadlec Healthy Ages’ mall walkers program, which tracks seniors’ miles and offers incentive prizes. Healthy Ages is a free membership program committed to the health care needs and concerns of those 50 years old and older.
The program started tracking miles for people in 1989 and boasts seven members who have reached the 15,000-mile mark or higher. Nineteen others have reached 10,000 miles and 44 have hit 5,000 miles.
The program currently boasts 231 active mall walkers.
Though Hull participates faithfully in the program, she walks by herself and is quick to quip why: “It’s because I don’t hear well. I have a short stride. And I’m slow.”
Corey Wakeley, Kadlec Healthy Ages specialist, presented an achievement plaque to Hull on May 15.
“You guys all know how exciting it is to reach that milestone. I’m just so proud of her,” Wakeley said.
It’s taken Hull 25 years to rack up 15,000 miles.
One lap around the mall, following the tiled gray line, is considered a “mall mile,” Wakeley said.
Hull didn’t spend a lot of time basking in the limelight after receiving her plaque.
She started walking and a small entourage of fellow walkers followed as she took a lap around the mall.
“This is a real privilege to be honored like this. My goodness,” Hull said.
Her son, Mickey Hull of Hermiston, joined her during the victory lap. “She’s a good role model,” he said, adding that longevity runs in their family.
He said his mother has been having trouble recently with osteoporosis, prompting her to reduce the distance she usually goes during her daily morning walks from three miles to two miles.
In addition to severe osteoporosis, Patsy Hull has fought cancer and required heart surgeries. She listened to her doctors when they told her to start walking daily.
“I’m grateful to be as well as I am for my age,” she said.
[panel title="How to join the Mall Walkers:" style="info"]
Doors open at Columbia Center mall at 7:30 a.m. Walkers can check in at the registration table at the food court between 8 and 9 a.m. Monday through Friday to log their miles.
Registered walkers receive incentive prizes such as T-shirts, coffee mugs and wind jackets.
For more information about Kadlec Healthy Ages program, call 509-942-2700.
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