As we near July 4th and the world famous Peachtree Road Race that takes place here in Atlanta, those of us familiar with it know that it’s a grand patriotic event – not just another race. Bunny Lenhard will be one of the 60,000 participants in the Peachtree, celebrating her 32nd time participating in this event that is a tradition for so many others. Not only is it a tradition, but it’s also how Bunny got started on her path to better health as her first fitness goal!
Making Atlanta races part of her fitness repertoire keeps her active lifestyle goals on track. From the Atlanta BeltLine to the Freedom Path, you might see Bunny out walking and training for her next race: “They are so scenic with wildflowers along the Beltline and the interesting artwork on both the Beltline and the parkway. There are also many places where you can stop for snacks or pit stops if you are doing a long distance. I try and spread out my races throughout the year and I always have a goal which is to try and better my time from the previous race. Although I don’t always achieve my goal, I need to have a focus other than just finishing.”
One of the best things about being a runner or walker in Atlanta are the numerous opportunities to participate in a race. There are events practically every weekend around town and plenty of run clubs to participate in as well: “Over the years of running and walking. I have often been joined by other people, either groups or individuals. It is always nice to have company on walks particularly if you are training for a long distance. It seems like the time always goes faster when you are chatting with someone. On the other hand, I also enjoy walking alone because I can resolve problems more easily due to the lack of distractions. I have really enjoyed cMEcompete since I love walking and then drinking wine with a fun group of women. It has added yet another wonderful facet to workouts. I know the future will be filled with many more races, walks and “wine-ing” with the Winots of the WINOT Run Club.”
We agree – while the nice thing about running and walking is that you can either participate alone or with others, the sense of community engagement is what keeps us – and Bunny – moving and enjoying an active lifestyle for years to come!
If you are physically able, you do it all the time without even thinking about it. It’s how we get around everyday and our first steps were probably documented by our parents as one of the most joyous occasions as babies. Walking is the most basic form of exercise there is and often the gateway to running. Unfortunately, with so many people in office jobs that require them to be sedentary and the amount of time people spend in their cars getting to and from work or just around for daily errands, this behavior often breeds further fatigue and inactivity by shutting down the body’s basic systems.
When it comes down to it, our health is pretty much what we have to carry us through life. If we aren’t treating our bodies well and neglecting basic functional movement and proper nutrition, we may not have the best quality of life as we get older. Active Community member Bunny Lenhard made this discovery early enough that has made her a fitness superstar! She happily obliged when we wanted to share her story in her words on how running and walking have impacted her life:
“In January 1983, I made a New Year’s resolution that I was going to become more fit and active. It seemed like running was the easiest thing to do as far as scheduling. I bought a pair of running shoes and hit the streets. Every day I ran a little farther. When I reached a mile it seemed like the distances were limitless and one challenge led to yet another. Fast forward to 2014 and I’m still out there but have switched to power walking which is easier on my knees and hips.
One of the best things about running – and now walking – is that you need no equipment other than good shoes and socks. Your time frame is your own, you go when you want, anywhere you want and at your own pace. There have been so many benefits from walking, the obvious ones such as weight control and better cardiovascular health, but there are so many more. To me the mental and spiritual benefit of being at one with nature is paramount as is the feeling of well being that comes from exercise. Although I love being outside, I do belong to a gym where I do weight work, circuit training, use a treadmill and rowing machines. I also attend a weekly yoga class. I think it’s important to participate in a variety of activities for strength and flexibility.
When I began running, I participated in many races. However, 30 years ago the races were not walker-friendly. It’s a very different story today since almost all races welcome walkers. So although I am no longer running, I continue to race.”
Stay tuned as we find out Bunny’s current plans for racing and how community engagement with fitness has enhanced her W-A-L-K through life!