Archive for Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More than 2,750 turn out for community workout

Massive crowd of thousands steps up to form ‘world’s largest community workout’

More than 2,500 people do jumping jacks during Lawrence's first "World's Largest Community Workout" in July 2009 at Shenk Sports Complex, 23rd and Iowa streets. It's back by popular demand and will be Tuesday. Organizers hope to attract 4,000 participants this year.

More than 2,500 people do jumping jacks during Lawrence's first "World's Largest Community Workout" in July 2009 at Shenk Sports Complex, 23rd and Iowa streets. It's back by popular demand and will be Tuesday. Organizers hope to attract 4,000 participants this year.

July 8, 2009, 2:25 p.m. Updated July 8, 2009, 9:44 p.m.


Several thousand turn out at workout

Thousands of people participated Wednesday in the world's largest community workout. Enlarge video

Don “Red Dog” Gardner has become a legend in Lawrence. Gardner’s Dog Days workouts have grown in popularity every season, but the event reached epic proportions Wednesday evening at Kansas University’s Shenk Recreational Sports Complex in Lawrence.

“This morning I guessed that we would have 1,500 show up. My wife, Bev, guessed 2,000. I guess she was more right,” said Gardner, who has been conducting his free community workouts for 26 years.

Sign-up sheets indicated 2,766 supporters showed up Wednesday evening, thanks in part to a new initiative called LiveWell Lawrence, representing communities from across the region.

The Dog Days workout became what leaders called the “world’s largest community workout” Wednesday, and although it will not be officially certified by the “Guinness Book of World Records,” the bar is certainly set high for any other challenging communities.

No current record exists in the category.

“I wanted to be a part of this. I think it’s so exciting, my kids are here, my grandkids and I just think it’s really a neat thing,” said Corky Caillouet, a 69-year-old Lawrence resident. “It’s wonderful just to do it, and it’s so Lawrence.”

Enthusiasts participated in workouts such as sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks and a half-mile run. The age of participants ranged from a couple of months to 100 years.

“I am very much in favor of what they are doing,” said Dr. Henry Remple, who is 100. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to do this to get the younger people involved.”

Many Dog Days regulars said an event of this magnitude will bring more popularity to the daily workouts this summer, which are in a field near Kansas University’s Robinson Gym.

They would like to have the workout certified in the “Guinness Book of World Records” next year.

With one glance at the crowd on hand Wednesday evening, it doesn’t look like that will be a problem.


Sheila Hooper White 8 years, 9 months ago

Way to go, to all those who volunteered and participated! Congrats Red Dog and Bev.

Graczyk 8 years, 9 months ago

My favorite part was when he said, "Let's see all the women under 30." It was like he was reading my mind!

christy kennedy 8 years, 9 months ago

It was great. A sea of nice folks, happy and enthusiastic, despite the push ups.

Maybe some day there will be Dog Days-like sessions in parks all over the place, then people could walk, run, bike etc. to one nearby.

truckfan 8 years, 9 months ago

Red Dog is a stud and an Icon. Congrats. What a great event for Lawrence and for him and Bev.

ljwreader64 8 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Don and Bev for all you have done for youth, law enforcement, firefighters, faculty, students, teachers, and the list goes on and on... You have inspired many and your work, time and energy is very much appreciated. My son has participated for several years and each year gains a little more knowledge, endurance, and most of all--community spirit.

aha 8 years, 9 months ago

it was great. great turnout, great workout, great people. thanks to red dog and to all of the volunteers! next year will be even better!

now, i must head to bed so i can get up in time for tomorrow's 6am workout. :)

Sheila Hooper White 8 years, 9 months ago

Toe- You would be surprised. I saw many people riding their bikes and walking. Unfortunatiely it's just not possible for some. I know of some Red Dog regulars who carpooled together. (Red Dog even suggested it on Tuesday.) Why can't we just look at how awesome an event this was and see that people are trying to live healthy lives. Come on out and give it a try, you might like it.

christy kennedy 8 years, 9 months ago


I ran there and ran home and always go on foot to DD because I live close to campus and am within a mile or two of where Saturday runs start. During the part of the winter when Saturday runners meet at 6th and out west somewhere, I run on my own. A lot of DD regulars routinely run or bike from all over town to workouts—some run pushing strollers for several miles!—but many others are coming or going from work and don't have that option.

defensehawk 8 years, 9 months ago

I was there and it was awesome!!! I'm a red dog regular but to see all those people out there having fun and being a part of it was, well awesome. Atta boy to Red Dog and Bev!! They give so much of their time to the workouts and all the volunteers way to go. To those of you that poo-poo the idea of driving to exercise, sometimes it's not feasible to walk or ride a bike to get there but you go because it's a lot more fun to work out with others than to work out alone. I also think if you work out with others you are more likely to go because you know there is someone there waiting for you. So walk,ride your bike or scooter, drive your car just get out there and work out with us. It really does become addictive. Thanks Red Dog and Bev for being there for us.

Danielle Brunin 8 years, 9 months ago


I parked at Lied Center and walked with the crowds of people who had also parked at Lied Center. They had suggested that regular Dog Days people park elsewhere and walk so that people who weren't familiar with the process could have the closer parking.

It really was a great crowd! People were so enthusiastic and excited. It really turned out well. Congrats to all who organized it, and those who participated.

Dave McClain 8 years, 9 months ago

Great job and congrats to the Red Dog community!

I have been in China parks where over 10,000 have joined in together for Tai Chi workouts. It would have been great if our community could have had that many!

Danielle Brunin 8 years, 9 months ago

dmcclain, That sounds like a challenge! ;) Give it a year or two and I think 10,000 is not out of the question.

Eric Neuteboom 8 years, 9 months ago

Glad to hear it was just a fender bender! I was at Alvamar hitting balls, and could hear Red Dog - just barely - barking into the microphone. Then after it had started, maybe 20 minutes in, we hear sirens, and all think "uh-oh."

Dave McClain 8 years, 9 months ago

rodentgirl16, I agree! And I'm willing to help support it. We had many of our running community there in support, some from the KC area. We should make it an annual thing in celebration of the history of Red Dog workouts, and life in our community.

Like the downtown sale always being the third Monday in July, we should choose a date, like the Wednesday after the 4th of July each year to set an annual time we can plan with.

Melissa Sigler 8 years, 9 months ago

What an AWESOME experience! It definitely wasn't anything like a regular dog days workout, but it was so inspiring seeing so many people interested in fitness. I hope this becomes an annual event. Congrats to Livewell, Red Dog, Bev, and the entire Dog Days community for hosting the workout. I do hope this brings more people to the regular Dog Days workout as well!

basketballer 8 years, 9 months ago

Congrats Red Dog and everyone else that participated. Red Dog knows how to get the community motivated! Former Lion and Firebird student......forever a Red Dog fan!

Jacob Kucza 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad so many people decided to show up to support Red Dog and his contribution to Lawrence. It is my hope that this single event might trigger people's determination and launch them into exercising on a more regular basis. And, as DMcClain said, I hope it can be an annual event to show appreciation to Red Dog and to encourage more members of our community to become active.

simpleton 8 years, 9 months ago

Ridiculous how no matter what... you get to 80% good and there's someone saying, well, what about the other 20%... I rode my bike 17 miles there to participate. But, no I did not ride home. I met with the rest of the family afterward and bought some nonrenewable remodeling materials.

Anyone asking, "how many people drove?" Should get off their asses right now and walk off the 100 sedentary pounds they're stretching over to get to their keyboards.

Thanks Red Dog and everyone else who put this on. Was a great thing for the community... with a pretty wide radius, to boot.


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