Last Wednesday’s community workout was a great success, with more than 2,700 people gathering to participate in what is likely to be the nation’s largest single community exercise session.
The drill master was Don “Red Dog” Gardner, who has been leading exercise sessions in Lawrence for 25 years. He started by conducting sessions for members of Lawrence High School athletic teams, and, over the years, the program has expanded to two-a-day workouts during the summer and indoor sessions during the winter months for people of all ages.
The massive exercise event was held on a recreation field named in honor of the late Henry Shenk, an extremely popular Kansas University faculty member. He was intensely interested in physical conditioning because he was a coach of the KU track team, as well as being involved with many other sports and physical education programs at KU. He would have been thrilled with the turnout and the work of Gardner in encouraging people of all ages to exercise.
Chances are the community workout will become an annual event, one which will attract growing numbers of participants — again with Red Dog on the bullhorn calling out the calisthenics.
The Lawrence Community Foundation members and a new “LiveWell Lawrence” program are to be congratulated for organizing and initiating this event. Lawrence needs more such programs to generate enthusiasm and involve a broad cross-section or our community.