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TOGETHER DECATUR

Watch now: Anthony Peoples gains following for daily walks (while reading) in Decatur

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The morning weather forecaster, Anthony Peoples, can be seen walking through areas around Lake Decatur with his eyes focused on his latest read.

DECATUR — Anthony Peoples has been on the radar screens of Central Illinoisans since he arrived in Decatur a year ago. But his notoriety goes beyond his job as meteorologist for a local television station.

The morning weather forecaster also can be seen walking in areas around Lake Decatur with his eyes focused on his latest read.

“I have more people ask ‘Are you the guy that walks on 36?,’ ‘Are you the guy that walks on Lost Bridge?’,” he said. “That’s me.”

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Anthony Peoples gets some exercise and reads a book about Abraham Lincoln titled "My Thoughts Be Bloody" by Nora Titone, while walking around Lake Decatur, on May 13, 2020.

Peoples, 56, said he made the jump from walking on a treadmill to the great outdoors about four years ago.

“I find it easier to walk outside and read, because sometimes I forget to lift up my feet on the treadmill,” he said. “You almost fall that way.”

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The outdoors is more enjoyable for the WAND-TV morning weatherman. Since reading is another enjoyment, he combines the two pastimes.

“I’m still aware of what’s going on around me,” Peoples said.

He often stops to talk to the people along the nearly 16-mile journey around Lake Decatur. “In the social distancing era, you still get to socialize,” Peoples said.

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Anthony Peoples, seen here walking along Lost Bridge Road, can be seen daily taking a walk around Lake Decatur while enjoying his latest read. Peoples said his mind is too active and that a book keeps him focused and make the walk less boring.

While some choose to alter their plans based on the forecast he provides, Peoples said he rarely lets the weather get in the way of his walk.

"There were a couple of days I had to make different routes to walk, because I couldn’t get across the (U.S.) 36 bridge,” he said. “The sidewalk was snow covered.”

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Anthony Peoples, seen here walking along Lost Bridge Road, can be seen daily taking a walk around Lake Decatur while enjoying his latest read. Peoples said his mind is too active and that a book keeps him focused and make the walk less boring.

Peoples said winter in Central Illinois is mild when compared to Duluth, Minnesota, where he was previously employed. Duluth, he said, often experiences 80 to 100 inches of snow in a season.

“You just tromp through it and walk faster,” he said.

As a meteorologist and a reporter, Peoples has been employed at stations throughout the Midwest, including Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio, as well as other areas of the country, such as Texas, Maryland and Florida.

If the weather isn’t ideal for reading, Peoples will carry a plastic bag to protect his reading material. Leaving the books at home, he said, isn’t an option.

“It gets boring,” he said about the trek.

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“I’m pretty aware of where I’m going," Anthony Peoples said, noting he has yet to fall while navigating his way around Lake Decatur while always reading a book.

Reading a book during his walk, he said, is a welcome distraction.

“I think too much,” he said. “My mind is like a television. There’s so many channels. I think about so many things. This keeps me focused.”

While some question whether they could effectively read a book and walk at the same time, Peoples said he isn't concerned about his safety. His peripheral vision allows him to see the obstacles and the environment around him. “I know when there’s steps that I need to step down,” he said.

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The morning weather forecaster, Anthony Peoples, can be seen walking through areas around Lake Decatur with his eyes focused on his latest read.

Peoples said he has never fallen during his many walks. “Since I walk the same routine, I know where the bricks in the sidewalk are and where to step up,” he said. “I’m pretty aware of where I’m going.”

Autobiographies or real-life events are favorite books during his journeys. The size of the book doesn’t matter. 

"His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life" by Jonathan Alter or "The Great Believers" by Rebecca Makkai are a couple of his favorites.

“A 600-page book, unless it’s a very technical book, I can get through it in about three days,” he said. “If it’s a larger book, I’m less prone to drop it.”


Gallery: A look back at Decatur-area broadcast personalities

 

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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