FRIDAY FICKS: A running lesson from the Battle of Gettysburg

Published on Friday, 7 October 2022 11:31
Written by Carl R. Ficks, Jr.

Friday Ficks

Devil’s Den. Culp’s Hill. The Wheatfield. Cemetery Ridge. The Peach Orchard. Little Round Top. The names of golf courses, new housing developments or amusement park rides? Decidedly not but rather, the locations of fierce fighting during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. 

Shortly after my father, brother and I toured these battlefields, he sent me a copy of an article that ran in Runner’s World with the subtitle “a visit to Gettysburg gives meaning to the author’s running.” The gentleman wrote that “every time I run, I realize reserves of strength and character that would otherwise lie dormant. Every time I run, I open up more and more the expanses of what I can accomplish.”

My father wrote in the margin, asking me “Carl - is this your experience as well? I’ve wondered since reading this excellent piece.” My answer? Yes, yes, and yes! Running has always delivered this gift to me, and it always will. 

You could delete the word “run” and insert the word “exercise” and the answer would be the same. An emphatic yes. This is not only a gift to ourselves, but a gift to our loved ones. Why? because we show up better, more ready to serve others.

A study recently published by the University of California, San Francisco, concluded that globally, people are taking fewer steps than before the pandemic. Researchers collected over 140 million daily step count measurements (via a health-wellness app) over a three year period from 1.2 million users in 200 countries. 

The magic number for step counts remains the subject of debate. Some say 10,000 steps per day, others 8,000 or even 4,000. Regardless, it is well-established that increasing your step count substantially reduces your risk of mortality, so this UCSF study should be yet another wake up call. 

Take more steps. You will definitely find your reserves of strength that were either dormant or hibernating since the pandemic. Take more steps. You will, without question, find out very quickly how much more you can accomplish.

The title of the Gettysburg article my dad sent?  “Foot Soldiers.” 

Soldier on. With your feet.

Carl Ficks helps busy professionals and their teams get back in the fitness game to reduce stress and increase productivity. He practiced law in New Britain for many years and is a proud member of the Generale Ameglio Society. He has run and cycled thousands of miles and competed in dozens of races, so when you're ready to get back in the game, email him at

Posted in New Britain Herald, Columns, New Britain on Friday, 7 October 2022 11:31. Updated: Friday, 7 October 2022 11:33.