Active Aging week is in full swing here in Richmond. Senior Connections, the Capital Area Agency on Aging, the Arthritis Foundation, and VCU ‘s Department of Gerontology asked us if we knew any seniors that help to model what active living looks like post-retirement. Surprise surprise, we know a bunch of them!
Barbara Gray, age 73, moved to Chesterfield in 1987. At age 50, she toldherself that she was going to start an exercise program. Since running just requires a good pair of shoes and a good place to run, she decided to train for the inaugural Monument Avenue 10k. “I did the first 10k when there were only around 2000 runners,” says Barbara. “The next year, I joined the training program.” Over the years, the finishing time has fluctuated but the result has always been the same. “Even if I get slower, finishing a race is a great accomplishment,” she says. “Crossing that line, even if there were rough patches during the race, always gives me a sense of satisfaction.”
Running is just a small piece of what Barbara enjoys doing in her free time. She enjoys yoga, a little strength training, playing the piano and the pipe organ, and being the “yardman” at her house – “I do the grass, but I don’t do flowers because I tend to kill them,” she says jokingly.
Barbara has recently started training for half marathons. When asked if she would be interested in the marathon in the future, she responds with a smile: “I’ve learned through the years to never say never, but at this point I’m really pleased with the half marathon!”