- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 19, 2001

When Jesse Hairston retired from the National Bureau of Standards in 1986, he thought about getting a part-time job.

Instead, he decided to go for a walk.

"Before I retired, if I had to go to the store a block away, I would drive," says Mr. Hairston, 70, of Northeast. "I did no walking at all. When I retired, everyone was getting a part-time job. I said my part-time job is going to be to walk every morning."

Nearly 15 years later, Mr. Hairston is still walking. He recently received an award from Washington Hospital Center's Morning Milers Club for walking 8,000 miles at Landover Mall.

That's right, 8,000 miles. Mr. Hairston has walked roughly the equivalent of striding to Sacramento, Calif., and back and then up to Edmonton, Alberta.

Almost every morning, summer or winter, Mr. Hairston stops by the mall. He usually walks about five miles in about an hour and 15 minutes.

Though many of the members of Landover Mall's Morning Milers about 500 strong prefer to walk in pairs or groups, catching up on news and small talk, Mr. Hairston prefers to get down to business.

"If you walk with someone, it slows you down," he says.

Mr. Hairston says that walking and his other hobby, bowling, help keep him healthy. He has had no heart trouble, and his blood pressure is normal.

"Walking is a beautiful thing," he says. "I recommend it for anyone. My doctor tells me a lot of people are running. I say don't run walk fast."

Over the years, Mr. Hairston has invested in many pairs of Rockport walking shoes. If you are going to walk the length of the continent at a shopping mall, your feet better be well-supported, he says.

"For dress shoes, you can get the cheap ones," Mr. Hairston says. "For walking shoes, go with the more expensive ones."

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