The Voice of Experience: Munkerud and Nilsson see a need and fill it

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With a combined age of over 140 years, Alex Nilsson and Terry Munkerud are once again rewriting the record books with their unique — some would say mildly eccentric — feats of physical endurance, all for good causes!

Terry has recently completed 182 laps of the Creston and District Com-munity Complex walking track. Not an unusual achievement you might say, but Terry chose to do it backwards!

“I’d like to thank all the donors who raised over $1,100,” says Terry. “The proceeds will be combined with the town donation sent to our twin town of Kaminoho, who will forward it to the places in Japan most in need after the tragedy of the earthquake.”

Alex’s latest fundraiser is a 24-hour golf marathon at the local course on June 21 (the longest day) from midnight to midnight. Alex will carry his own clubs and is aiming for a minimum of 100 holes.

Nicole, Alex’s wife, who is in charge of logistics, explains, “All the funds raised will go to the Creston-Kootenay Foundation, a local organization which provides grants of $25,000 annually to local organizations including TAPS (Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors), the Therapeutic Riding Program, the school science fair and Swan Valley Lodge. Pledges can be by donation or a smaller amount for each hole. We are sure the golfers will encourage this worthy cause and Alex invites walkers to join him to keep score and perhaps provide some light in the few dark hours.”

The duo is equally active with local volunteering focusing on improving the quality of life with therapeutic programs. They transformed a storage building into a welcoming, thriving place for TAPS.

“Terry put in countless hours using his many skills; I was just the labourer,” says Alex. “Our wives, Nicole and Chris, were part of a large number of volunteers needed to complete the project.”

Their second “labour of love” was the Therapeutic Riding Program at 849 Erickson Rd. Six years ago, they reconstructed an old farm into a corral and an eight-horse shelter for therapeutic riding. They both agree, “The digging for the fence posts was a great workout, but it’s still a work in progress. It’s great to see the riders having so much fun with so many health benefits.”

How do these super spry Scandinavian seniors find the energy to manage such remarkable feats of endurance? Two of the main reasons must be their exercise routines and their food regimen. Alex works with weights an incredible 20 hours a week, while Terry walks backwards up and down Fox Tree Hill for 1.5 kilometres along with more usual exercises for another one-and-a-half hours all in the morning. For recreation, Alex plays tennis and golf, and the two will often cycle to Crawford Bay and back in the summer and similar endurance tests in the winter on cross-country skis.

As for nutrition, food is more of a fuel than a tasty treat. They eat “lots and often”. Any processed food and sugar is strictly off limits. Terry is a vegetarian and some of his more unusual favourites are: kefir, rice milk, flax seeds and raw oats sprinkled with cinnamon. Alex has similar choices with lots of fish, green drinks and protein powder.

Here in Creston, we are fortunate to have two such inspirational seniors. Age and a little pain, laced with good humour and fun, are no barriers to major achievements. On June 12, they compete, as the oldest team, in the famous Wasa Lake Triathlon. Terry cycles 40 kilometres, and Alex runs 10 kilometres. The crafty pair have managed to avoid the 1.5 kilometre swim component in the icy waters of Wasa Lake by persuading a buddy from Cranbrook that this is something he really wants to do!

May they continue for many years in the future!

Phil Thomas is a longtime resident of Creston.

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