Winfield man walks the walk

Sam and Martha Logan watch where they step as they prepare for a walk. Sam, 84, of Winfield, participates in half marathons in the region.

Sam Logan does not give up easily. In fact, he loves a challenge.

This 84-year-old Winfield resident often has to rely on two canes when he embarks on a walking journey. Though his days of running and participating in full marathons are over, Logan still has a few goals left of his own. He hopes he will be able to walk during half marathons as long as he can.

Friends, neighbors and others who live in the community find Logan impressive, independent, strong and witty, a real trooper when it concerns his enthusiasm for walking.

“I started late in life with my running days,” Logan said one recent hot afternoon while taking a break from walking with his wife, Martha, 82. “I guess I wanted to participate in these full marathons as a way to just keep on doing them. I used to run the 5K (about 3.1 miles), then the 10K (about 6.2 miles). Now I only walk about two half marathons a year, and when I walk around Winfield about three times a week I use two canes. I need to walk with two canes after having a bout with neuropathy that affected my balance. But if I am going to the store or walking around our house, I generally only use one cane.”

A treasured event in October is the Prairie Fire Marathon, sponsored by the Greater Wichita Sports Commission. This year will be its 10th anniversary. Logan always looks forward to this event, as well as other marathons out of state. Everyone is very supportive. He enjoys the runners who compete with him and doesn’t mind them passing him. They offer him many kind words of encouragement.

“They’ll yell, ‘You’re doing great! Keep it up!,’” Logan said with a smile. “The full marathon runners double back and provide company for the slower, half runners and walkers. Now it takes me about 5 1/2 hours to complete a half marathon. Most of the full marathons will have a time limit of six to eight hours, and the half marathons will have a four-hour limit. I am slow. I have never been fast. So the events I enter have an early or advanced start for the slower participants like myself, which is very generous.”

Normally a marathon has an official distance of 26.219 miles. Research shows that the training period depends on a person’s fitness level and walking experience, such as with Logan, and goals. A typical walking pace to complete a 5K is roughly about 45 to 60 minutes. For a slower walker, it might be 90 minutes.

But who’s counting minutes? Logan perseveres extremely well on his own.

“My goal is to wear everybody out so I can come in second place,” he joked.

Logan is proud of participating in additional marathons that have taken place in Little Rock, Ark., Texas, California and other states. The Little Rock marathon is usually the first weekend in March. He has earned many of T-shirts and gifts, along with medals for his endurance and dedication: 10 or more medals  from Prairie Fire, 10 from Little Rock, four from Texas and some from California.

“The early start at Little Rock gives me plenty of time, and the folks at Prairie Fire in Wichita have both a full and half marathon in the fall, which enables me to do the half even if I need more than four hours,” he said.

Martha, too, likes to keep active by walking. Her cane helps guide her steps and provides support. She also walks on the treadmill at home, which sometimes is better for her than trying to dodge uneven sidewalks and ground, or even potholes.

“Martha has been very supportive of my walking,” Logan said. “She has walked 5K events at Prairie Fire and even did a half marathon in Kingwood, Texas, one year. She has had some health issues that had prevented her from walking long distance in the last couple of years. We do some walking together at the Broadway Sports Complex out on 19th Street in Winfield.”

To Logan, walking is a means to clear his mind and “enjoy the great outdoors.

“The Broadway Sports Complex is exceptional in this respect,” he said. “Trees, flowers and wooded areas all provide a backdrop for the walker. Walking is easier on the joints, which becomes important as we age,” he said. “I try to do four-mile walks two times a week, then go a longer distance on weekends, maybe 10 miles.”

Logan said he believed that he inherited more of his mother’s genes than his father’s. 

“She was active, particularly in her latter years,” he said. “She would stick to walking.”

Logan’s father, Herschel, was a famous Winfield print-maker and author of books and magazines. Herschel had been an original member of the Prairie Print Makers, and made his reputation as a woodcut artist. He also was a quite active collector of guns and focused on the Old West.

“I’m not that kind of artist,” Logan said. “But in junior high school I was involved with woodcarving.”

In his spare time, Logan is a horologist (one who studies the measurement of time), and tinkering with clocks fascinates him, a hobby also shared by his wife.

“We just wanted something to do after retirement,” he added.

As for the half marathons, Logan says he thoroughly appreciates all the people associated with them.

“You meet a lot of nice people. The support you get from the people is special,” he said. “They are very thoughtful about letting me participate.”

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