Stillwater, OK's Fitness Scene Runs Strong
A spring morning in Stillwater saw both a 5-year-old girl and a woman in her mid-80s behind a walker both take to the running track – just two of the nearly 1,200 runners and walkers who participated in the annual Remember the 10 Run at Oklahoma State University. The wide age range isn’t unusual for a race in a community that encourages everyone to get out and get moving – and gives them plenty of opportunities.
From fun runs to full marathons, Stillwater residents of all skill levels have many chances to join others in pursuit of healthy living, while taking in the beautiful outdoors and usually benefiting a worthy cause. The Remember the 10 Run is a memorial to 10 Oklahoma State University basketball players who were killed in a plane crash in 2001. Proceeds from the April event benefit the university’s grief counseling services for individuals who lose a loved one during their college years.
“Sometimes it’s very different to have strong mental health unless, physically, you exercise,” says Kerry Alexander, founder and chair of the annual event. “It’s just an important component, for those who can, to be active, and that’s why we have a 1-mile fun run. People who are just beginning their health journey, they can participate, and they can get out and enjoy it.”
Another memorial event that encourages people to exercise for physical and mental health is the Run for the Thin Blue Line, held annually in April to benefit survivors of police officers killed in the line of duty.
“I just believe in the benefits of physical activity, and there’s actually a lot of research about physical activity in terms of dealing with depression and grief, and the benefits of that. So I think we’re not only raising money for a good cause, but we’re encouraging people to do something that’s healthy for themselves, physically and emotionally,” says race director Kathy Thomas. “Those kind of events also encourage people who are non-runners to get out and walk, or whatever.”
For those who are not of a running persuasion, Stillwater offers a variety of exercise options, from the walking and bike path around Boomer Lake to various health clubs like Stillwater Medical Center’s Total Health and the local YMCA. Lake McMurtry and Couch Park provide other scenic options for stretching your legs.
“I guess it depends on what you prefer as your method of exercise,” says Kendra Moreland, director of public relations for Eskimo Joe’s, a local watering hole that hosts an annual run and golf tournament to benefit the United Way.
“I think there are a lot of opportunities in our community.”
Check out more outdoor fitness opportunities in Stillwater, OK.