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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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BJ McHugh: Mother’s Day Marathoner

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Betty Jean McHugh

While working out at a local weight room, I had the privilege of getting to know Betty Jean McHugh, the world’s fastest 83-year old long-distance runner.  Interviewed on TV and newspaper, she has been called the flying granny.  Jack Taunton, Chief Medical Officer for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, called her one of the most remarkable senior runners we have seen.  Betty Jean is so positive and energetic that she inspires the rest of us to not give up on our health goals.  Recently I met her at the Parkgate Village right next to the Bean Around the World coffee shop.  She told me of her tri-generational plans to run in the December 2012 Hawaiian Marathon, along with her son Brent and her grandchild.

After reading her book My Road to Rome, I knew that I needed to celebrate BJ’s achievements as a Mother’s Day marathoner.  One of her great lifetime highlights which she talked about extensively throughout her book was an all-expense-paid trip to run in the Rome 2009 Marathon.  There are now five million North American women running, compared to less than one million in the 1980s.  Women, many of whom are mothers, now outnumber men at running events.  BJ has run in 14 marathons and over 300 road races.  Running four times a week at 5:45am, BJ has broken a dozen Canadian and world records.  She started running at age 55, a time when many others were hanging up their running shoes.  While BJ has been injured many times over the years, she never gave up, saying that she ‘was not going to accept the ravages of time without a fight.’  Running has become for her as much part of her life as ‘brushing her teeth’.

BJ’s determination is an inspiration to watch. She not only runs and works out at the gym, but also has been an avid North Shore skier since the early 1950s.  BJ even climbs the Grouse Grind with her grandchild.  Such athletic involvement helped condition her to become a leading octogenarian runner.  She acknowledges that there are thousands of times when she felt like not bothering. “Excuses are easy; commitment is hard”, says BJ.  But she just keeps putting one foot in front of the other and goes for it regardless.  Every marathon, says BJ, is a journey into the unknown.  You train and train and train again, and think that you are ready. But you never really know how your body is going to fare over 42 kilometres of running.

One thing that keeps her going are her running partners to whom she is committed. “How can I sleep through an early-morning downpour”, says BJ, “when I know that my friends will be waiting for me at our meeting place in ten minutes?”  Running, says BJ, has given her friendships that are powerful and lasting.  Through her running with her partners, they experience ‘the elation of reaching the top of a hill, the pain when (they) increase the distance on a training run, the slogging through rain and dancing through a sunlit forest.’

In BJ’s book, she talks about being raised in the poverty of the Great Depression in Stanwood Ontario.  The local church was the centre of the community.  BJ comments that ‘as a child she liked everything about church but the Sunday service…The minister droned on about subjects I never understood, and I had to sit in the pew with my hands folded politely.’

Once while running in a Vancouver marathon, she became more and more concerned about finishing well: ‘I feared hitting the dreaded ‘wall’, that point at which the body has used up all its reserves.’  Finishing well is a challenge for all of us, whether in a marathon, in our business, or in our family.  It  is about ultimately facing the question: will my life have made a difference?  BJ is an example of someone who is finishing well, whose life is making a difference.  She has chosen to give her best into what she believes in and is passionate about.  BJ is leaving a legacy that other younger people will be able to tap into.

One of my mentors, Paul, said that he fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). Even though Paul was tragically killed, he finished well.  Paul also recognized that physical exercise was of real value, but he pointed us to the even greater significance of spiritual exercise (1 Timothy 4:8).  Part of finishing well is a commitment to being healthy in body, mind and spirit.  If we neglect any of those three, we are the poorer for it.  Life is a marathon. Life is about discipline.  Life is about finishing well.  My Mother’s Day prayer for those reading this article is that BJ McHugh’s example will inspire all of us to discipline ourselves in body, mind and spirit so that we may truly finish well.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Lord Stanley’s Famous Cup

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My Grandfather Allen loved both Stanley Park and the Stanley Cup.  During the Great Depression, he was bumped from being a CPR Railway Engineer to shoving coal.  He had to work seven days a week and had little time to see his children.  But Grandpa Allen was happy to even have a job in those tough times.  When he retired, Grandpa had more time available.  He became the co-ordinator for the Stanley Park Shuffleboard Court, and walked every day the 5 miles around the Stanley Park seawall.  As a young boy, I loved walking and talking with my Grandpa, feeding the squirrels and enjoying the Park scenery.  Stanley Park in beautiful Vancouver BC is still full of many memories for me.

My Grandpa and Nana Allen were also great Stanley Cup fans, never missing a televised game.  One of my three sons is such a dedicated hockey fan that if PhDs were offered for studying the NHL, Vancouver Canucks, and Wayne Gretzky, I am sure that we would have a Rhodes Scholar on our hands.

Under Wayne Gretzky’s leadership, The Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in five years.  After one of those victories,  Gretzky said, ‘‘You know,  I’ve held women and babies.  I’ve held jewels and money.  But nothing will ever feel as good as holding that cup.’  The recently-retired ‘Great One’ was one of the most accurate shooters in history, was named the NHL’s Most Valuable Player every year from 1980 to 1987, and held over 40 scoring records in the NHL – almost every record for goals and assists that can be achieved.  As one sports columnist put it, Gretzky was ‘not merely the best hockey player in the world, but one of the nicest and most unspoiled.’

It is not just Wayne Gretzky but every hockey player who dreams of the moment when he might hoist the coveted Stanley Cup. As a sports commentator put it, the Stanley Cup, sometimes called the ‘Big Mug’, is the hottest thing on ice.  As the oldest trophy in North America, being over 100 years old, it’s covered with names of hundreds of players who have played on winning teams.  “Hockey, more than any other sport, has placed its emphasis on trophies and cups,” said Clarence S. Campbell, former president of the National Hockey League.  “Ever since 1893, the world of hockey has revolved around the Stanley Cup. And the history of pro hockey is the history of the Stanley Cup.  I would say that the Cup is the best-known trophy in North American sport today.”  Hockey writer  Gerald Eskenazi of the New York Times commented during a telecast of the 1974 Stanley Cup finals: “The Stanley Cup is uniquely Canadian.  We have nothing in this country that transcends how the Canadians feel about the Stanley Cup as an ultimate goal –not the Super Bowl, not the World Series, nothing…”

The old Cup has been lost, stolen, dented, repaired, and mounted on new bases that grew taller and taller with the years. One player on his way home from a victory party in Ottawa drop-kicked the cup into a canal, then returned the next day to retrieve it.  Another team forgot the cup in a photographer’s studio, so the studio cleaning woman took it home and grew geraniums in it! Colorado’s Sylvian Lefebre even went so far as to have his child baptized in the Cup a few years ago!  Twice in the late 1960’s, the cup was stolen from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. In 1968, a replica was made.  It is this stand-in that we now see presented to the champion team.  The original stays safely in the Hockey Hall of Fame, guarded by electronic burglar alarms.

I had no idea until recently that both the Stanley Cup and Stanley Park are named after the same Governor General of Canada, Frederick Arthur Stanley.  When Lord Stanley moved to Canada, his seven sons became passionate hockey players.  Being kicked off the public rinks by jealous figure skaters, the Stanley brothers formed their own team ‘The Rideau Rebels’ and played on the frozen lawn of the Governor General’s Rideau Hall residence.  Lord Stanley’s seven sons then cornered their father and convinced him to donate a $50 rose bowl for the winner of their amateur competitions.  The first winners of the Stanley Cup were the predecessors of the famous Montreal Canadiens who have won the Cup more than any other team in history.  It is safe to say that no other cup in history has ever inspired so many brilliant goals, fabulous rushes, split-second saves, and overtime breakthroughs.

Lord Stanley never actually saw a Stanley Cup competition, as he moved back to England in 1893 as the sixteenth Earl of Derby.  In England, Lord Stanley went on to become the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, the first Chancellor of Liverpool University, and the president of the British Empire League.

And why did Lord Stanley end up having a park in Vancouver named after him?  Once again it was CPR influence by the same William Van Horne who kept BC in Confederation and gave Vancouver its Dutch namesake.

My prayer for all Lord Stanley Cup/Park fans is that we may realize that through faith in Jesus Christ, we have an even greater trophy waiting for us in eternity (Philippians 3:14) Let us run and skate in such a way as to get the prize, the crown of righteousness in the Lord.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca