Waco is walking this fall; time to sign up

By Susan Menninger Krause

Did you know that walking is one of the easiest, least expensive, most accessible ways to improve your health?

Walking will help you maintain a healthy weight, lose body fat, improve cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones and muscles, improve balance and coordination, and increase energy. It also can help prevent or manage conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. And walking can also improve your mood, cognition, memory, and sleep.

It’s not complicated. There’s no pressure. No elaborate or pricey equipment or memberships are necessary. You control your schedule, your distance, where you go, and who you go with. Just put one foot in front of the other and join “Let’s Walk Waco” this fall. 

If you’re looking to start or continue your walking journey, join the “Let’s Walk Waco” community-wide challenge. This walking challenge is sponsored by the Live Well Waco Coalition and the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. This free eight-week program begins Sept. 20 and runs through Nov. 15. Registration begins Aug. 30.

You can create a team of your friends, neighbors, family, or co-workers or join a team and get the chance to meet and make new connections. Anyone can join, and McLennan County residents who log their miles may win prizes along the way.    

For information on how to register, create, or join a team, visit our website. There you will also find information about community center parks and indoor walking opportunities, City parks and trails, frequently asked questions, and other helpful tips and resources. Come join the fun and “Let’s Walk Waco.”

Susan Menninger Krause is manager of parks and rec facilities and programs for the City of Waco Parks and Recreation. Susan formerly was branch executive director at Waco Family YMCA. Before coming to Waco, she worked 16 years at Greater Joliet Area YMCA near Chicago. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Dallas and a master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of North Texas. She and her husband, Ken, have two sons, Zachary and Tyler, both are in college.

Act Locally Waco also has an informal group of walkers called Waco Walks. There is more information on our Waco Walks web page.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Communities of Waco: Waco Striders

By Erik Romanov

So, you find yourself sitting on the couch watching TV and while channel surfing, and you come across the Summer Olympics: All of those world class athletes performing super human physical feats of speed, endurance, and strength.  Hey, who doesn’t love watching the Olympics!  Definitely one of my favorites!  Suddenly your adrenaline swells, and an instant burst of motivation hits you!  And then…just as fast as it comes, there it goes!  Well, maybe not totally gone.  Whether motivated by the Olympic spirit or simply a decision to get back into shape, you make the decision to get up off the couch and commit to get regular exercise. Where do you start?  How do you start?  Once you start, how do you keep up the motivation?  Ta da!  Enter the Waco Striders Running Club!

The Waco Striders Running Club was started back in 1979 by a simple group of locals with the same goals in mind: Get some exercise through the sport of running but, most importantly, have fun doing it.  Most people in town now usually just use the moniker “The Striders.”  That just sort of happened, kind of like how Federal Express became Fedex.  “Striders” works great, unless, of course, you are trying to route someone to the website!

The Striders Vision and Mission statement really sum up the essence of what and who we are:

“Vision and Mission – It is the goal of the Waco Strider’s to share our love of running by bringing people together from all walks of life.  We work hard to provide a safe, healthy, happy environment to run and socialize while supporting our community and local charitable organizations.  This is accomplished by hosting a variety of weekly training runs, t-shirt sales and innumerable organized events throughout the year.

The Waco Striders Running Club is a non-profit organization committed to the overall health and well-being of its members.  We hope to use our passion for running to build lifelong friendships, provide encouragement, improve ourselves and enhance our community”

Finding the Striders is generally not a difficult task.  Weekly group runs take place throughout Waco and Woodway.  If you have trouble finding them just look for the gigantic group of runners moving single file throughout Cameron Park, along Poage Park, or descending upon Whitehall Park.  Wherever you find us, we always greet passing motorists and other runners with a kind smile or wave.  That’s just how we are!

Oh, but once you find the Strider’s, look out!  You now have friends for life!  How so, you ask?  Well, who looks out for your health and well-being?  Friends do!  Who holds you accountable?  Friends do!  Who keeps you motivated when the last thing you want to do is go exercise?  Friends do!  And who is willing to give you the shirt off their backs?  Friends!  Friends! Friends!  We are the Waco Striders!

Probably the most impactful role we play in our local community is that of “giver.”  We give scholarships to children of our members to help with college or technical training schools.  We give our time and services to an array of local events to maximize the return to these other great non-profit organizations.  Most importantly, we give encouragement to all who cross our paths in the pursuit of making better life choices, physical or otherwise.

This is who my Waco Striders are, and I hope others will be encouraged and not intimidated to become part of the greatest community group in all of Waco!

Erik Romanov is a 53-year old retired Air Force veteran. He is passionate about triathlons and people. He has been married 30 years with two adult daughters who both did the Ironman Waco race with him.

Whether it’s playing trumpet in the “Friday Band” at MCC,  or riding with the Waco Knight Riders, or an afternoon playing with the Waco Disc Golf Association, one of the wonderful things about Waco is that there are lots of ways to find community here.  Where do you find community in Waco?  Would you be interested in writing about it? If so, let us know.  Email [email protected]. If you have an idea for a post.  You could be seeing your own picture on this page!