WAYZATA, Minn. (WCCO) – When a Twin Cities man sets a goal, he goes the distance, showing that taking it one step at a time is the way to accomplish a monumental feat.
Dick Cottrell, 68, lives at the Meridian Manor senior facility in Wayzata, Minn., and a long time ago he decided to kick his golden years into high gear. It all started when he traveled extensively as a businessman but still needed to stay in shape.
“Back in 1981, was when I started walking and keeping track of it,” Cottrell said.
Cottrell walks up to 13 miles a day and even 80 miles a week, never missing a moment, by even walking inside the halls of Meridian Manor in the winter.
The math major spent his life in payroll and accounting jobs, so it’s no surprise he calculates his pace with precision and purpose.
“Keeping track of stuff like this is automatic for me, you know? Yesterday morning I did 5.4 miles. In the afternoon I did 3.84 and that gave me a total of 9.24 miles,” said Cottrell, looking at a ledger he keeps every day. “I go three miles in 52 minutes.”
Cottrell realized that after nearly 30 years of walking, it wouldn’t be long before he walked the distance around the world.
“I looked it up in a dictionary and thought, I am not that far away from it, I’ll finish it off,” Cottrell said.
And if you don’t have time to look that up, Cottrell can spout off the circumference of the Earth around the equator without a thought.
“24, 901.5 miles,” he said.
While walking, Cottrell runs equations in his mind and sometimes circles the hallways of his home more than 60 times a day.
He knows many curious things about his walking habit, like how many miles it would take to wear the rubber right off his shoes – about 1,000 miles.
Given his propensity for precision, he predicted the exact moment, he would hit his mark. At Meridian Manor Friday afternoon, he crossed a red finish line and stepped into a celebration, with clapping and cake and music. There is no way to measure how much he inspired his neighbors and friends.
Meridian Manor Director Wanda Moen presented Cottrell with a plaque.
“We would like to congratulate you with the accomplishment of a lifetime, the walk around the world!” Moen said.
Cottrell was humbled, and will tell you the steps have changed his spirit, with both physical and mental exercise.
“I’m sorry to brag about this, but this morning, when I stepped on the scale, I was seven pounds lighter than when I graduated from high school!” he laughed. He also says he has gone 12 years without getting a cold.
Not one to sit around, he’s already working on his next goal.
“The minimum I want to do is 125 percent around the world, and I calculated that – 6,230 more miles.”
Cottrell is working on yet another accomplishment to keep in shape – sit ups. He does 40 a day, 1,000 a month, and so far says he’s completed 51,400 sit-ups.
For Cottrell , the formula is fool-proof. It’s really not about the finish line, but always striving for that extra mile in life.