Local runner contributes to new Chicken Soup book

By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld….
The popular book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, has a new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners which features a story titled “How I Found My Running Partner” by local writer Marie Duffoo. The story is in the Starting Out section.

When she received notice that the series was putting out a new book on running, Duffoo let them know she had a story.

“Not one you would expect,” she said. “It’s not like I ran across country like Forrest Gump.”

Duffoo was living in Boston and had worked from home for years and years.

“You work at home and you don’t get any exercise,” she said. “I sit on my butt in front of my computer. One day I started having chest pains, my arm went numb. I had a neighbor drive me to the hospital. I was having a mild heart attack.”

Doctor told her she needed to get exercise and get her heart pumping. He suggested she begin running — perhaps with her husband. However, her husband was a very accomplished runner who could easily run five miles without effort. She knew running with him was not an option but she agreed just the keep the doctor from further lecturing her.

When she told her neighbor about the doctor’s orders, the neighbor laughed but told her maybe she could walk Roxy, the neighbor’s Labrador. Duffoo often took Roxy for walks when her neighbor was out of town.

Just then, they heard Roxy barking. They looked out to see the dog walking across the lawn with her leash in her mouth. Roxy came into the kitchen and dropped the leash at Duffoo’s feet. Both women were astonished. The neighbor swore she had nothing to do with what just happened.

Duffoo took the leash and she and Roxy headed for the park and then the dog took off, pulling Duffoo along. Both got home safely, even if Duffoo was huffing and puffing.

The next day Duffoo had a deadline and had no plans to go out for a walk, much less a run, but wouldn’t you know Roxy showed up again with her leash in her mouth.

“The dog Roxy just started showing up every afternoon at 3 p.m. with a leash,” Duffoo said. “She would put me through my paces. That was my exercise. I toned up. I tried not to lose weight.”

That went on for three years. Duffoo’s health improved, her doctor was happy and both she and Roxy were exercising. Until one day when Duffoo received a call that Roxy had passed away during the night. Turns out that Roxy also had a heart problem and needed more exercise and her time with Duffoo helped her as much it helped Duffoo.

Today, Duffoo still exercises with a dog, but now it’s her own dog, Sally.

Duffoo’s story is just one of 101 that will inspire and motivate any runner, be they a marathoner or an occasional jogger.

For more information about Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners, go online to www.ChickenSoup.com.

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