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Racing club helps walkers become more fleet of foot

I am an injured ex-runner who recently started walking for exercise. Is there a club of race walkers in the area? I've checked the classified ads in sports magazines and in local listings and have not come up with any.

I'd like to learn the proper technique that people say looks so silly. All I can muster is a 12- or 13-minute-per-mile pace walking the usual way. I understand race walkers can walk a mile in less than 10 minutes.

Please don't use my name or my running friends will laugh at me.

M.H.

Response: The contact you need is in the telephone white pages under F _ Florida Suncoast Racewalkers Club, 576-0604.

We got that information from Gordon Hill who, it would appear, is the club.

The phone number is really Hill's office line. Callers get a recorded message telling them about upcoming races and meetings.

The club meets at 8 a.m. every fourth Saturday at a county park. Dues are $10 a year "whenever we need money," Hall said. They haven't been collected in two years but then, the only expense is for the ribbons given away at 5- and 10-kilometer races.

Hall said the 5K contests are prediction races. Racers predict their times and whoever comes closest (they're not allowed to wear a watch), wins.

Hill conducts clinics on proper technique. More important than form, he says, are how many miles you walk on a consistent basis, how much fat you are carrying and the kind of food you eat to fuel your "engine."

Keep after insurance company

Last December I hired United Professional Movers to move my mother's household goods from Paris, France to Crystal Beach.

When the goods finally arrived March 24 her antique desk was damaged. I contacted Transatlantic Marine Claims Agency (TMCA) in New York, which handles the mover's insurance claims.

I sent TMCA all required documents April 1. I called April 30 to check on the progress of my claim. A David Tan told me to call back May 20. I did. He said to call back in a month.

In June Mr. Tan said my claim had been approved and was "in the works." I called again in August and September but have yet to receive the settlement of $125.

Can you please help? I am at my wit's end.

M.H.S.

Response: David R. Tan of TMCA's adjusting department said his company is a U.S.-based, independent marine adjusting agency for foreign insurance companies.

He said your claim was duly processed and the completed file sent to a French company for approval. There is no question that you are entitled to indemnification, Tan said. He said he will continue to pursue your claim until payment is received.

However, he said his company has no authority over the overseas insurance companies to expedite or enforce payment.

Our suggestion is that you keep pestering Mr. Tan. You might also write to Gatt International Insurance and to the moving company that hired United Professional Movers.

It's probably a case of the squeaky wheel getting attention.

Action tracks a traveling tag

Hello. We sure need your help again (10 years go you gave a problem of ours fast Action).

We sent a registration form and a check for $58.50 to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles because our vehicle is registered there. The check cleared the bank but we never got a license tag.

We will be most grateful if you will help us to have transportation again.

Mrs. Robert Curtis

Response: Glad to hear you got your tag.

In your own words, "The tag came in today's mail with three different addresses on it. It had been sent to a south St. Petersburg address, then to Ohio and finally back here again.

"Thank you. I knew with your assistance it would get fast Action."

Titles, functions vary

What's the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist and which is better for the eyes?

Mary Beth Hinkel

Response: An ophthalmologist is a physician whose specialty is treating eye diseases and performing eye surgery.

An optometrist is licensed to examine eyes and prescribe lenses.

An optician is licensed to provide lenses that have been prescribed.

To say one is better than the other would be to compare apples to oranges. They serve different purposes.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, to leave a recorded request for Action.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or on our voice mail system; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Upon request, names will not be published.

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