Kick off your spring and summer of fitness

Published 8:45 am Friday, April 9, 2010

A week isn’t much time to get into shape, but it is enough time to decide to do something to kick-off your spring and summer of improved fitness. On Saturday, April 17, an event is happening that will help you do just that.

For those who’ve never heard of either the Fountain Lake Five (as in five miles) or the Tiger Trot 5k Fun Run/Walk (as in 3.1 miles) the premise is simple. Everyone laces up their running/walking shoes and stands at the starting line. The race director either says, “Go!” or makes a loud sound that lets everyone know that they should begin.

Some folks start fast and others start slow. Some walk, some run and others do both. Whatever your level of fitness, the name of the game is this: get to the finish line.

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What is particularly impressive about the Tiger Trot 5k, a fundraiser for Southwest Middle School, is that it raises money in a way that actually improves the health of its students. Rather than kids selling stuff like sodium saturated pizzas or buckets of sugar soaked cookie dough, the Tiger Trot 5k helps kids learn about the importance of physical fitness.

For those who run more regularly, or who would at least like to start running more regularly, the Fountain Lake Five might be a better fit for you. The Fountain Lake Five is a fundraiser for the Albert Lea Family YMCA. I’ve run this race every year for the last few years and it’s always fun.

The Fountain Lake Five route follows the 5-mile circumference of Fountain Lake. The Tiger Trot 5k doesn’t circle the whole lake, but does follow along the lake for the second portion of the run.

The fun doesn’t end on April 17.

This summer’s Walking Moai Kick-off is on May 20. Many of you may remember folks of all ages walking all over Albert Lea last summer as part of the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project Walking Moai Program. Organizers are encouraging folks to get out and do it again. Besides adults, they’re hoping kids of all ages will form their own moais and join the competition for some great prizes.

And for those who really catch the fitness bug, don’t forget about Albert Lea’s Land Between the Lakes Triathlon on May 23 or the April Sorensen Half Marathon on July 10.

Also, June 5 is the 2nd Annual Kid’s Triathlon at the Albert Lea City Pool. This event is for ages 7-14 and lasts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. A perfect event for beginners, there are different distances at each age division, with the oldest kids running one mile, biking four miles and swimming a length or two of the city pool.

For more information about these and other events, visit

Albert Lea resident, Jeshua Erickson, was one of the three organizers for the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project Walking Moai Program last summer. He is also a volunteer assistant track and field coach at Albert Lea High School.