Steve Lucas was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003. In 2007, he started race-walking to lose weight and “get out of the house.” From Nov. 15-18, he walked 80.4 miles in 48 hours at the Ultra Centric Experience race in Grapevine to raise money for the Woodrow Wilson High School drill team, also known as the Sweethearts. “It helped me during the race to know each mile would help out Woodrow,” Lucas says. “You’re out there and you can get down sometimes. You’ve got to have something to keep you going.” Before graduating from Woodrow in 1979, Lucas found community in his high school band experience. Almost three decades later when he moved back home to be near his ill mother, Lucas started attending football games and caught the Wildcat spirit again. He joined up with the band, played the trumpet at a homecoming parade and ran a 24-hour race last year to raise money for the band. He wanted to help the school again this year and this time decided to focus on the Sweethearts. “[They] were real organized and ready to get going,” Lucas says. He coordinated with drill team director Lisa King to raise funds so the Sweethearts could participate in the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade on Dec. 1. People pledged cents or dollars for every mile he walked, raising a total of about $700. During the race, Lucas walked, cheered on other participants, daydreamed and “ran just to break up the monotony.” “Speeding’s not my thing, so I make distance my goal,” he says. He slept in his car at night and ate meals and snacks provided by race organizers. He says he doesn’t listen to music as he walks and instead prefers to make conversation. “There’s something about long races and long hours that kind of levels the playing ground between runners and walkers,” Lucas says. “When runners slow down to where they’re walking, you get to talk to people and hear their stories, where they’ve been. That mileage flies by when you’re talking to somebody.”
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