An Exercise Trail for Ogden, a tale of things coming together
As mentioned in my Marathon Recap, I was at the expo representing the GOAL Exercise Trail. I gave a little bit of an intro to what the exercise trail was about but it’s such a cool project I feel it deserves a post all its own – and actually, you’ll probably hear about it again once it’s constructed J
How this all came together was a bit of a miracle of wills so please excuse my writing if it seems like I’m rambling for some of this. I assure you it all ties together.
I started this blog because I wanted to share my own take on what healthy and balanced meant. Not health-nut, not diet focused (as in, I’m on a diet this week), not any one set of beliefs leaning this way or that about health – merely that real food (REAL FOOD) should be eaten and enjoyed, that eating healthy should come naturally and from natural foods, and that being consistently active in any way shape or form is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Eat real food, stay active, have fun – that’s my mantra.
So I started a blog and posted recipes, shared our lives and our adventures in the hope that the “fun” of it would rub off on people that took the time to read my words. But I also wanted to make an impact offline, in the real, present world around me. I looked into teaching cooking classes on balanced diets without breaking the budget, I looked into public speaking opportunities, I looked into a lot of different things and at each turn I kept thinking… “wow, this is really hard when every single time you have to say, hi I’m[nobody really] and I want to do…”
When I was invited to the Junior League holiday social, Christmas of 2012, I knew I had found my place in the world. These girls were talking about “Kids in the Kitchen” – a national project centered on teaching healthy eating at affordable prices – they were talking about impacting their community, about increasing awareness, about providing healthcare and dental visits for under- and un-insured women and children. All of it was right here, real world, offline work with real results. I was in.
Flash forward a couple months…
Probably sometime in October or November, I was talking about ways that the Ogden River Parkway could be used more. Don’t get me wrong, I think the parkway is an incredible feat and it’s something we should be incredibly proud of as a city. But, as with all great things, you want to see them get used in more ways and by a greater number of people. So I was talking about the cool pull offs at Green Lake (Seattle, WA) and how you could stretch and get a mini workout in, wouldn’t it be cool if we had something like that but even more functional?
And an architect that I’d been working with for some marketing work had apparently already had this idea. “Oh yeah, we have one of those.” But it was run down and he was trying to work with the property owner to repair it. He’d already outlined the trail and what it could be and that….got the wheels in my head really turning.
A few weeks later I was walking the parkway for a business meeting (seriously, one of the best things about being a freelancer in Ogden) and ran into a fellow Junior Leaguer who simply stated in passing “we should have one of those workout things along here” to which I responded, “yes, and we will.”
Another week or two later and I was sitting down with the GOAL Foundation, producers of the Ogden Marathon, to present a bid for marketing work and while I was there I mentioned how cool it would be if GOAL and Junior League could partner their existing programs, Young Runners and Kids in the Kitchen, respectively, to put together a fitness trail along the parkway and host a monthly breakfast for the community at large.
I was dumbstruck when their response wasn’t something like “oh, that’s nice…” but rather, “you need to talk to so and so, he’s wanted this for years, let’s make it happen.”
Let’s make it happen indeed.
From there, we got our groups together. Myself, the architect, the aforementioned so and so (Jeff and Jeremy) and a few others to round out the design team. We met a group from Ogden City, who were immediately on board and allowing us use of the land adjacent to the parkway.
We’ve met several times since to round out the design, to talk about funding and maintenance, hash out the use agreement for the city and myriad other details. But, this thing is real.
It’s coming to Big D Park mid-August of this year! Less than a full year from thoughts floating in space to a real tangible thing.
It’s pretty f*ing rad to have support from the community to be able to band together like that, get permissible land use, gain funding and make it happen in that kind of a time frame. I could not be more excited.
And here’s the thing. It’s completely local. The architect; local, the fab and production: local, the aesthetic; local (using a heavy railroad theme and both ski and bicycle components), the partners; local.
Once it’s in place, this will be a hub for the GOAL Foundation’s Young Runner program so that not only will the kids be learning proper running form and staying active at school, they’ll also get a chance to bring their parents down to the trail, learn how to use the equipment and get the whole family involved; the goal is to have this be at a monthly breakfast and serve a healthy nutritious meal – thus fully incorporating the Young Runners and Kids in the Kitchen. The trail will of course open to the community at large as well.
Take a look at some of the renderings (design and renderings provided by Carbon Architects):
Eventually, we’d like to have an app developed so you can check in at the stations, something similar to Strava where you can compete against your previous times and your friends. Getting the trail built is phase 1, taking it mobile and social is phase 2 J
I am so incredibly proud of this project and to be a part of such a great team of people – people that are so fully committed to their town that they’re giving up evenings and weekends to make it better, not just for their families but for the whole community. I’m blessed to have such mentors and examples in my life. Truly blessed.
Just another reason we’re choosing Ogden.