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Eric Douglas: Don’t say there’s nothing to do

Driving through downtown a few days ago, on a bright and sunny spring day, I noted a large group of people (mostly women) walking/jogging on their lunch hour near the West Virginia Power ballpark.

I assume that had to do with the fitness center located nearby, but it still made me happy to see so many people out getting exercise.

West Virginia has a bad reputation, deservedly, for obesity and poor health habits. We eat too much processed food and live lives that are much too sedentary. That said, I see a growing amount of interest in exercise and fitness.

I don’t have anything to do with the group, and my own foray into the world of jogging was brought about by my surgery, but Genesis Running ( has prepared hundreds, if not thousands, of people for their first 5K races. I have several friends who are alumni of the group. Genesis has been at it for 10 years and their classes always seem to be full. Genesis runs a nine-week training program that ends in a 5K race.

As my own interest in fitness has increased over the last year, I have been surprised to learn just how many walking/jogging events there are in the area. Within a reasonable driving distance, I would be surprised if there isn’t a 5K (or longer) race every weekend through the fall. It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to learn that there is literally one every weekend of the year.

Don’t like to run? Fine. Health and fitness don’t revolve around jogging. There are as many ways to get outside and enjoy life, while getting in better shape, as your imagination can come up with.

The week of April 23-29 is Active Week West Virginia ( The website is building a list of everything going on that week to encourage West Virginians to be more active. Scanning through the list, I see events from hikes to spinning classes to yoga and even road bowling. The events are rated Beginner, Intermediate and Expert. If you are hosting an activity or event that week, you can also submit it to the site.

The takeaway message here is that there is plenty to do and all sorts of activities to get active and get in shape. Don’t let anything hold you back. Get outside and do it!

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at


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