David Freeze: Gotta Run

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 14, 2018

Oak Park event focuses on a new group

Late this summer, I received a photo from a friend in Reno, Nevada showing the start of a one-mile run/walk. Nothing unusual about that fact, but what made the event stand out was that it targeted senior adults. Senior adults of any age were encouraged to train and compete.

I told Karen Leonard, Activities Director at Oak Park Retirement, about it and she decided to host a similar event and add a few things. Karen, also a participant in my Salisbury Post wellness program, experienced some heart issues and the planning pace slowed down but is now on the fast track.

The Oak Park One Day at a Time 1-mile Run/Walk will be held at 9:30 am on Thursday, November 1st on the grounds of Oak Park Retirement. The event targets senior adults, especially those who usually wouldn’t consider doing something like this. Often, I write about age group successful runners, especially youngsters and teens. But this one goes the other way.

The target group is those age 60 and over, those living independently or associated with retirement facilities, and especially those associated with YMCA’s and senior living centers. Competition divisions include one for those who complete the distance under their own power, either walking or running or a mixture of both. Another division is for those who are mobile only by a non-electric wheelchair and these competitors will be pushed by a Catawba College cross country and track athlete. And the final division is for those who are mobile primarily with a powered wheelchair. Each division will compete separately.

Age groups come into play with the run/walk division. While there will be an overall winner for both males and females, ages groups consist of 60-69, 70-79, 80-89 and 90 and over. Three places for both male and female finishers in each of the age groups will get a medal. The powered and assisted wheelchair divisions will have awards for the top three in each category. It is possible that a team competition will be added later. Additional sponsors so far are Legacy and Comfort Keepers.

Oak Park is hosting the event at the best price possible, absolutely free. Included are the races, a t-shirt while supplies last, refreshments, and a free lunch from the Oak Park staff. Also included will be a presentation on my One Day at a Time run across North Carolina from earlier this year.

While the event is for seniors, minors who are aged 59 or less may accompany the participants on the race course, two loops around Oak Park. All of the course is on a paved driveway.

Maurine Gminder, age 91, said, “Walking is my favorite form of exercise. I attend all the fitness classes here at Oak Park, some of them also include walking, and think that I benefit greatly from them.”

Another resident, 85 year old Jean Redding, walks twice a week for two miles and three more times for a mile. She said, “I look forward to completing the One Day at a Time Walk on November 1st.”

I personally covered the Oak Park residents as they played a hard-fought soccer match against the Catawba soccer team. It was easy to see the competitive spirit of many of players had not diminished. There could be some intense competition for the bragging rights and medals too.

Registration brochures will be available at Oak Park, the YMCA’s, the Forum, Rufty Holmes Senior Center and at various other places around town. A printable race brochure will be at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org for the One Day at a Time 1 Mile and all other upcoming events.

Next up locally is the Hurricane Michael rescheduled Explore the Greenway 5K, now set for Wednesday, October 17th at 6pm. Overton Elementary and the PTA will use the proceeds for various projects. On Saturday, October 20th, the Catawba Challenge 5K kicks off homecoming weekend with a three-loop course around campus. The cross country and track teams are hosting the race.

October closes out with two popular Halloween themed events. On October 27th, the St. Matthews Church 5K benefits one individual and two local charities. The next day, Sunday October 28th, the Rotary Spooky Sprint 5K benefits their projects.

There is something for everyone. I hope to see you there. Right now, I have to run upstairs and turn of the hair dryer that is working hard to dry my hurricane drenched shoes.