EUGENE, Ore. – As 2019 rolls on, TrackTown Fitness continues to bring together runners and walkers of all backgrounds on Sunday mornings.
One family, in particular, illustrates the pervasive sense of community that has become the program’s defining characteristic. On Feb. 3, Jim Johnson and his son, Eric, worked to follow the quick pace of Eric’s young son, Holbrook.
“This is me and my wife’s third year of coming here,” Jim Johnson said. “We try to maintain a good base of fitness. She is a master’s track runner, so this fits in really well.”
Jim Johnson’s wife, Mary, was a UO track athlete in the 1980s. Together, they now share the joy of exercise with their son and grandson.
“We just love the community feel of this,” Jim Johnson said. “The people you see coming year after year, watching them progress. This whole feel of being involved. It’s a great party and gets you out of bed on Sunday mornings.”
Eric enjoys the family time that he is able to share with his Dad and his son.
“I grew up running with my dad,” Eric Johnson said. “It’s just about being fit and being healthy – and coming out here and trying to instill that mindset in Holbrook.”
The value of physical activity at every age is an important tenet of the program, and it is often highlighted through the ‘Run with the Doc’ segment. The most recent iteration of TrackTown Fitness on Feb. 10 featured pediatric hospitalist Dr. Serena Black from PeaceHealth Medical Group.
Dr. Black applauded the effort she saw on display during the workout. “It’s been wonderful,” Dr. Black said. “This is a nice opportunity to interact and see these people in their different stages of training. They are all motivated to be out here, even in the cold…I think that program is a real motivator if you have a plan every Sunday to come out.”
Dr. Black is a runner herself and reminded participants that it is never too late to start a healthy lifestyle.
“I would tell people that I was never a runner or physically active till three and half years ago,” Dr. Black said. “I didn’t think I could do it. I just started with a few miles and gradually worked in to it and it’s been such a liberating thing to realize how much your body really can do. Everybody at different levels should be out there moving and interacting with the environment. Try to set a goal and try to reach it.”
OTC Elite athletes have been in attendance throughout the program to encourage those goals – Nijel Amos, Hassan Mead, Ben Blankenship, Tom Farrell, Sabrina Southerland, Andy Trouard and Vincent Ciattei among them. The elite athletes have been eager to coach, answer questions, and provide support for the runners and walkers week to week.
The next TrackTown Fitness will be Sunday, Feb. 17 at 8 a.m at Autzen Stadium.