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Check us out in the Queens Chronicles: Getting, and staying, fit this spring

Alley Pond Striders were featured in the Queens Chronicles!

Getting, and staying, fit this spring

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 10:30 am

by Christopher Barca, Editor

Going to the gym can be mind numbingly monotonous.

What’s the fun in doing the same exercises on the same machines at the same time on the same days of the week — all while the same people you see each visit to the gym are going through the same, boring routine right next to you?

Are you tired of smelling the body odor of the woman who, for some reason, feels the need to use the treadmill right next to you every Tuesday morning?

Have you had enough of watching that old man in only his underwear clip his toenails in the gym locker room?

We don’t blame you. So just imagine how good your workout will feel if you actually have fun doing it.

This spring, make it a point to change your routine, get outside and try things you haven’t thought of trying before.

Don’t let this month’s snowfall trick you, it will be warm out soon enough.

And with the rising temperatures comes sprouting flowers, blooming trees and the ability to work up a sweat while enjoying the great outdoors — instead of your gym’s plain white walls and neon lights.

On the run

Not everyone you see running through your neighborhood park is training for the next New York City Marathon. Most folks are simply trying to stay in shape while enjoying the fresh air and warm sun.

If weightlifting isn’t your thing or you don’t have a bicycle to ride, a simple walking or jogging regiment might be right for you.

Lacing up your running shoes and hitting the pavement alone can certainly be a relaxing way to clear your mind. But for those looking to get and stay fit, working out with others for emotional support can be a boon.

About 150 people from Queens and Nassau County make up the Alley Pond Striders, a running and walking club in existence for more than 30 years. Every Saturday and Sunday, dozens of members meet in the “hidden jewel” that is Alley Pond Park at 9 a.m. — 8:30 a.m. during the summer — to hit the pavement.

And according to group President Lynn Henry, the Striders are seeking new members.

“We always say there’s a three-pronged approach with our club,” Henry, the group’s president, said in a recent interview. “It’s about camaraderie, exercise and enjoying the beautiful park.”

Henry said participants of all ages and speeds are welcome, as group members include both skilled runners training for races and older area residents who walk to stay in shape.

“We run the whole gamut. We have some people in their 20s and we have some walkers who we joke will be using walkers soon,” she said. “We have slow runners, faster runners, people come out because they play tennis and want to keep in shape — everyone.”

The membership fee is just $20, but Henry said she doesn’t charge potential participants right away.

“I always tell people to just come down a few times, enjoy the park and enjoy the camaraderie and see if you want to join,” she said. “If you do, you do. If you don’t, you don’t. But you get a T-shirt if you do join.”

While the group holds a number of special events each year, its marquee gathering is its annual “Five Mile Challenge,” set for April 29 at Alley Pond Park.

There are three separate events that day, beginning with a fun run for children at 9 a.m., followed a half-hour later by both a two-mile fun walk — which won’t be scored — and the five-mile race, open to runners 13 and older.

For the latter race, the top three finishers will each receive a trophy.

About 200 people participated in 2017, and Henry is hoping to match or exceed that total.

Pre-registration costs $25, while same-day registration costs $30. The price for the children’s fun run is just $7. For more information, log onto

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