When Bill Buchanan started taking Sophie Rheinheimer’s Walk for Fitness class in 2001, he wasn’t the fastest.
He had trouble just making it through the class without being winded. His crowning achievement in that class was getting a trophy Rheinheimer had made out of styrofoam for finishing before his predicted time.
Now at age 75, Buchanan is one of the fastest people in his class. He averages 3.1 miles in under an hour. Not only is he one of the fastest in the class, other students have trouble keeping up with him.
“He’s a special guy,” instructor Geoffrey Smyth said. “He whips out three to four miles within the hour. He’s peddling.”
What makes all of this even more impressive is that Buchanan has asthma. He only stops a few times during his walks to take a few deep breaths.
“Once I kept doing it, I built up my tolerance, and I am able to walk long distances without pausing,” Buchanan said. “I try to walk at least three miles a day.
“On Monday I walked 3.66 because I was walking with a friend who needed a little encouragement to keep up. And he’s in his early twenties.”
And this isn’t his only class here. He has taken almost every humanities class, sang with the choir and is involved with many campus clubs.
His passion for education has not ceased. Before coming to Las Positas, Buchanan worked in the Oakland school district with his wife as part of the early childhood development program.
As he walks towards the next semester, he hopes to continue his pursuit of being a lifelong learner.