Six NYRR Striders on How Walking Is Changing Their Way of Life
If you’ve ever spotted a high-energy group of older adults walking briskly in a New York Road Runners race, you’ve witnessed NYRR Striders in action.
The program provides free weekly walking sessions in senior centers, community facilities, and neighborhood parks across all five boroughs of NYC. NYRR Striders aims to improve attitudes toward exercise, make running and walking more accessible, and increase the presence of fitness walkers and older adults in NYRR events year-round.
On Saturday, August 26, many Striders will take on the Percy Sutton Harlem Walk. With just days to go until the event, we caught up with a group of Striders at RAIN Parkchester Senior Center in the Bronx, where six women shared what they love about their Wednesday morning walking group.
Isabel Colone, on possibility
I used to walk around the Jerome Park Reservoir—sometimes you find someone to walk with, and sometimes you don’t. But being a member of NYRR Striders here in Parkchester, now I have a group of people that will walk with me and socialize with me. I love Striders because we are a family, and we attend everything together. Joining Striders has helped me maintain my health and has reduced some of the arthritis pain that I was dealing with.
I was able to do my first 5K in March, the NYRR Washington Heights Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K. I am now motivated to participate and attend more races. I have a younger sister who has done marathons in Florida, and now that I have completed a 5K, she is proud of me. Striders showed me that anything is possible. I am looking forward to doing more 5Ks and doing a marathon with my sister in the future.
Angela Lloyd, on staying energized
I got signed up because I went through an aneurysm operation. The doctor told me I should do a lot of walking and exercise. I have been coming here every Wednesday, and it has helped me keep my energy going. I’m not the most well person, but I try to keep myself active and motivated, and Striders helps me do that. I feel great, I feel energized, I feel active, and it makes me want to keep going. I don’t want to give up, I just want to keep going because with my illnesses, anything can happen.
Charlotte Waithe, on weight loss
Years ago, I used to walk a lot. But then I had problems with my legs, which made me gain a lot of weight. This year, I made a commitment to myself to start walking. Being with the Striders group, it’s a positive atmosphere. When you are in a group, you are more likely to do something than when you are by yourself. I enjoy the program, and losing weight has motivated me. I wear my Striders shirt every day and I tell ladies in the street about it. One of my goals left for the year is to lose 25 pounds.
Mary Epps, on motivation
Our coach, Mitch, is a lovely person and coach, and without him, I feel that we wouldn’t be motivated as much. Striders gives me something to look forward to. It’s a great feeling. I get to see my friends and Coach Mitch.
The biggest thing since joining this program is that I am stronger. My blood pressure is down and my body feels great. Some people say that they are tired, but I tell them to just walk—it’s better than not walking at all.
I think this program is saving my life. Since I’ve been walking, sometimes my knee hurts, but after I walk, I feel much better.
Brigid Allyson, on discipline
I schedule my doctors’ appointments in the afternoon because of the time that I attend Striders. This program has strengthened me. I never knew that I could walk this much until I started attending. I know it has been beneficial to my health because when I go to my doctors’ appointments, they call the head doctor and say that Ms. Allyson is really a modern citizen of health, and it makes my day to hear that. I walk, I exercise, and they can really see in my tests that I’m doing well since joining Striders. Walking is one of the best free exercises you can do, an it really is priceless.
Shirley Skette, on togetherness
Joining this group has encouraged me to walk, stretch, and breathe properly. My first race was the Percy Sutton race. It was an honor, and I am looking forward to it again this year.
I enjoy the camaraderie that I have built with my fellow Striders since joining. A lot of times, after we leave here, we go do yoga together. Some weeks we go to the gym together to do other exercises. There is no competition here; we are a loving group. I feel that the Striders program helps you finish everything you start.
Learn more about NYRR Striders, including how to find a walking group in your neighborhood.