AUSTIN (KXAN) - Believe it or not, there was a time when there was no such thingas a hike-and-bike trail in Austin.
Jack Pope has no trouble believing it. When the now-retiredChief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court and his family moved intoa spacious ranch house on Stratford Drive, that part of town lookedcompletely different.
"There was no hike and bike trail," said Pope. "There was noteven a paved street through Zilker Park, but we lived here."
It was the 1960s and a physician named Dr. Kenneth Cooper wasintroducing the world to a new word: Aerobics. Cooper challengedAmericans to hit the trail or the road or any surface they couldfind and start moving. Pope became a believer.
He, his wife and son and the family dog found an isolated spotof land in the Southwest corner of Zilker Park and fixed their eyeson a landmark of some sort off in the distance.
"We determined that we were going to run what we estimated to bea quarter of a mile and we started out and we ran," he said. "Ofcourse, nobody made it but the dog."
The judge kept at it, though, and worked his way down to aseven-minute mile. As the speed increased, however, so did his ageand his aches and pains. The times slowed down until finally, therun became a walk and the walk became something else.
"I'm at 96 now and I still go and I can make the distances, butnow I mosey," he said.
During one "mosey" some four years ago, Pope climbed up on acurb to avoid an oncoming car in his neighborhood. The balancebegan to go and the judge sped up in a vain effort to avoid afall.
When he woke up, he was in an ambulance. Paramedics told him hewas on the way to a hospital. He argued, demanding to be taken backto his house. The medics pointed out the blood pouring down hisface and told him they were worried about the possibility of bloodon his brain.
A wave of common sense enveloped the then 92 year-old and hesettled back for the first hospital stay of his life.
When he recovered, he adopted a cane and hired caregivers toaccompany him on his moseys and kept at it. Pope turned 96 on April18. He wanted to walk 9.6 miles on that day but spring rainsdelayed his training schedule.
He refuses to give up on the idea, however, and he is buildingup from two- and three-mile walks six days a week to reach hisgoal.
"I just hope that I don't run out of the desire to continuebefore I have to stop," he said. "I'm just playing it day byday."
Day by day and step by step, that is.
Jack Pope shared his exercise routine with everyone in thishelpful clip:
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