Come run (or walk) with us

Published 1:12 am Saturday, January 18, 2014

It’s the New Year, and too early for any of us to bail on our resolutions. If yours have anything to do with getting more fit, come play with us on Saturday mornings.

By “play,” I mean walk or run, and I promise, when you have group support, it feels more like having fun.

A small group of us were waiting to walk or run Mt. Gilead’s Glow Run at Straughn one hot August night, when, almost simultaneously, we said, “Let’s do a 5K for Rice and Beans.”

Rice and Beans is, of course, the hunger ministry of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. On the third Saturday of each month, as long as supplies last, we give staples – always dried rice and beans, often peanut butter, bread, jelly, and other staples – to anyone who needs it. When we began, we weren’t sure what to expect. Now, more than 100 families get extra food to fill their empty shelves, a hot breakfast for empty stomachs, and a bit of fellowship, too.

As the number of participants has grown, so has the need, so indeed, we are doing a 5K fundraiser on March 1 with a Mardi Gras theme. Red Beans and Rice will be served afterward to participants, and extra tickets will be sold.

But we also wanted to encourage people who thought they couldn’t meet that challenge, to reach a new goal.

So beginning this morning, while some folks are serving breakfast or sharing rice and beans, another group of us will be cheering on those who’ve signed up to walk or run with us. This is the first of six Saturday events designed to increase distance and pace and help folks get ready to go the distance March 1.

Yes, it’s going to be cold, and yes, it would be fun to be snuggled in today. But if you made that resolution – or if you just wish you had – it’s not too late. Come join us any Saturday that you can.

John “Tiny” Likely, who’s lost more than 100 pounds in the past six months, committed to walk, as did his boss, Scott Brown. Jim Walker accepted a personal challenge and said on the air he’ll be with us, and a crowd from The Star-News with fitness goals will participate, too.

One of those is Chris Love, our press manager, who moved here to play basketball at LBW and stayed. Chris has been telling me for weeks he’d train for the 5K. We went for a run Wednesday. To say this short woman was intimidated to be out running with a basketball player is an understatement. But I ran faster and he ran farther because we challenged each other.

We’d like to challenge you, too. We meet at the church at 9 today, and we’d be happy to see you.

And if you’re really brave, I can hook you up with a former basketball player who ran the distance of a 5K – 3.1 miles – on his first try.