86 Is the New 20 When You Live Like Gordon EdwardsJul 06, 2020 12:15PM ● By Jason Huddle
currently 1,661 Cabarrus County residents participating in Walk Cabarrus, a
community-wide walking initiative. The participants range from new walkers,
seasoned walkers, hikers, bikers, and everything in between. Every single
person who laces up for the campaign and logs steps online is valuable to this
initiative, as its goal is to reach 1 billion steps as a community. Yes, 1
billion with a B. However, when the team at Walk Cabarrus received an email
from Gordon Edwards, they had a feeling there was more to him than an
86-year-old man asking about his online progress badges. So, they sat down with
him to find out more.
Edwards was a member of the Cortland State swim team alongside George Breen, former world record holder for the 1500-meter freestyle.
Cabarrus County resident Gordon Edwards was born on St. Croix, where he fell in love with swimming, and later grew up in New York City, where he began playing basketball. Little did he know, both sports would eventually lead him upstate to Cortland State Teachers College (now SUNY Cortland), where he would compete on top-tier teams on his way to earning his Master’s in Physical Education.
After Cortland State, Edwards became a U.S. Marine Corp Reserve and was called in and out of active duty while spending summers in California. During that period of his life, he received a PhD in Physical Education from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, taught physical education at UNLV, and coached track and field. Talk about impressive!
But, how did he end up being a resident of Cabarrus County? Edwards moved to Charlotte, NC in 1979 when he was hired to be the P.E. instructor for the Charlotte Fire Department. Fun fact: Edwards was the first person in the United States to ever be hired in this role for a fire department! After several years of working directly with firefighters, he went on to found the Charlotte Track Club in 2002.
Edwards went on to discuss his accomplishments as a nationally recognized track and field coach, a 7-time triathlon participant, a man who has visited 49 out of 50 states, and then more, but what really piqued the interest of the team at Walk Cabarrus was everything he’s doing now.
Considering his past, it is really no surprise that Edwards remains so physically fit to this day. In fact, he wakes up every morning and starts his day with a 30-minute walk. Then, he goes about
Edwards played basketball for Cortland State while pursuing his Master’s in Physical Education.
his usual daily routine until it’s cool enough to walk again and laces up for another 30 minutes. By the time he’s done, he’s walked 2.5 miles every single day. That’s a lot of steps going toward our community total!
Daily activity like this, combined with healthy eating habits such as fish or chicken with vegetables every night for dinner, is what keeps Gordon Edwards going strong. He truly is an inspiration to everyone at Walk Cabarrus, and they hope he can be the same for you. If you happen to see him out walking, make sure to say hi. We have a feeling he’d be happy to share some of his life with you.
As of June 30, 2020, the total step count for Walk Cabarrus was 370,722,460. Their goal is to reach 1 billion steps by December 31. Register today at www.walkcabarrus.com to start logging.
About Walk Cabarrus
Walk Cabarrus, presented by the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, is a healthy walking initiative born out of the Children WIN Steering Committee’s goals in partnership with the ODPHP’s community-based Move Your WaySM campaign.* Cabarrus County is one of a select few communities chosen to participate in this nationwide pilot test program, whose intention is to promote the recommendations from the 2nd edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
*Move Your Way is a service mark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Used with permission. Participation by Walk Cabarrus does not imply endorsement by HHS/ODPHP.
About Children WIN
Childhood obesity is an increasing trend in many communities, including Cabarrus County. When the work began, approximately 34% of Cabarrus County residents ages 0-18 years were overweight or obese. Recognizing the potential impact of such a trend, Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast commissioned development of a plan of action to study and make suggestions for changing this trend. With the help of professors from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte College of Health and Human Services Department of Public Health, an action plan was developed and presented that outlined general suggestions for addressing the problem.
About the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) plays a vital role in keeping the Nation healthy. ODPHP accomplishes this by setting national health goals and objectives and supporting programs, services, and education activities that improve the health of all Americans. ODPHP part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To learn more about ODPHP visit health.gov.