John “The Penguin” Bingham Waddles into The Runner’s Soul
John “The Penguin” Bingham entertained runners and walkers last Monday night with stories of his transformation from unhealthy couch potato to fit leader of the “back-of-the-pack” movement. Bingham, 62, spoke to a standing-room only crowd at The Runner’s Soul promoting his latest book An Accidental Athlete.
Experienced runners, beginner runners, and those hoping to become runners filled The Runners Soul at 5 South La Grange Road to hear Bingham’s message that running is for everyone, not just the speedy. Bingham and other “penguins” run to have fun and enjoy the experience, not break course records. Bingham, an author and columnist for “Competitor Magazine,” began running at 43 when he realized that he needed to change his unhealthy eating, drinking and smoking habits.
Bingham recounted his first running effort when he could not jog to the end of his 50-yard driveway. However, after 6-months of determination and pushing himself a little more each day, he made it to the spray-paint mark that he had made 1.5 miles from his house, and back home, for a total of 3 miles. He celebrated his accomplishment with a cigarette (one of his last)! The point being that he changed his lifestyle gradually, and so can others. Since then Bingham has run 45 marathons and hundreds of shorter races.
His pace is slow, but he loves the sport and the running community. He told the audience that “runners and walkers are the nicest people in the world,” and after he ran in his first race he was “hooked.” After his touching and often hilarious talk Bingham fielded audience questions and then signed books. Bingham will be appearing at The Runner’s Soul, Elmhurst on October 13. Watch for details at www.therunnerssoul.com.