New park club pairs fitness with friendship

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published October 26, 2016


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A township park program aims to team up like-minded walkers and runners.

“There is a strength in numbers,” said Sue Barnes, owner of Socially Motivated Wellness, who has partnered with the township to create a weekly walking and running club.
“The group helps you and encourages you. Someone is waiting for you,” she said.

The running and walking club — which starts out at 9 a.m. Oct. 29 at the Paint Creek Cider Mill, on Orion Road — is designed to help township residents get fit and to also introduce them to township parks.

After an initial meeting and a short run on the Paint Creek Trail, group members will discuss future workout spots in various township parks.

Sessions will be held “in their own parks (that) residents pay tax money for,” Barnes said. “A lot of people don’t know those parks exist — and they are really nice.”

Oakland Township Recreation Manager Becky McLogan said the walking and running club is a good way to expand a workout.

“If you are walking with a group, you are accountable,” she said. “We are trying to get various ways to get people outside and into our parks.”

Club members will use either run/walk/run or walk/shuffle intervals designed to include all levels of participation strength. Groups will be introduced to a variety of terrain on trails and in the parks.

Each week, time and mileage will be added to the workout, which will run for around 45-60 minutes. Group members will learn how to dress for winter workouts, and how to walk and run safely.

“All members are placed with people (who walk or run) at the same pace,” Barnes said. “You are never alone.”

Barnes said she will assign “homework.”

“I ask them to run or walk twice a week,” she said.

Barnes has nine years of experience training men and women for races, and she has worked for the Crim Fitness Foundation and The Brooksie Way.

The winter run/walk club is offered to Oakland Township residents 18 and older for $60 per session, or $80 for nonresidents. The program runs through Dec. 17.

McLogan said those who miss the first meeting are still welcome to join the club.

“The social aspect is hugely motivating for wellness,” Barnes said. “Transform your life while having fun and making friends.”