Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dan Moser's Florida Weekly column: Upcoming bridge runs allow foot racers to work the inclines

The Fort Myers Police Department holds its annual Cops and Joggers 5K in downtown Fort Myers at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, starting in Centennial Park. The course takes runners and walkers over the Edison Bridge and back. From its inception a few years back Cops and Joggers has been a hit, especially with those who work in or have ties to the public safety community. For more information, click here.

Runners and walkers (those who can cover 3 miles in less than 45 minutes) will have access to a bridge that’s otherwise off limits to pedestrians on Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11. YMCA’s Midpoint Madness 5K begins at 7 p.m. on the McGregor Boulevard overpass. There’s one change this year: race day registration and pre- and post-race activities will take place in the parking lot of Royal Palm Square Shopping Center on Colonial Boulevard just west of Summerlin Road.

Fit-Friendly SWF Update

Having heavy-hitters with a major interest in seeing an effort as big and important as Fit-Friendly Southwest Florida succeed means putting together a well thought-out plan with lots of input. This vital step began recently with Lee Memorial Health System and Lee County Health Department providing their best talent to facilitate the development of a strategic plan.

Fit-Friendly Southwest Florida is no small undertaking. The aim is to get our community as a whole thinned-down through better nutritional choices and increased activity. The majority of health problems American’s experience can be traced to being overweight or obese, as well as a sedentary lifestyle. We all have a stake in the outcome of the Fit-Friendly SWF initiative. For those who are overweight or obese (amazingly, around 70 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control), not only will one’s lifespan be shortened, but quality of life will likely be compromised. Diabetes, heart problems and strokes are common complications that are showing up at earlier and earlier ages.

Based on what has been suggested so far, the problem will be attacked from a variety of fronts and using a number of approaches. Among them will be support for efforts currently being undertaken to provide safe, attractive and convenient opportunities for anyone to walk, run and cycle as part of everyday activity. That means there will be even more champions for creating complete streets, reforming land development patterns and improving transit opportunities. That’s good news for those who are already active as well as for those who find our built environment a deterrent.

For helpful fitness and nutrition resources, go to the American Heart Association’s “Start!” program.

Advocacy update

Anyone who lives in Bonita Springs or takes bike rides down that way will be interested to know that some in city hall have a problem with Lee County’s transportation department plan to add bike lanes to Hickory Boulevard, the beautiful two-mile stretch of road that runs along the beach. I’m not sure why there’s such resistance to improving conditions for a specific class of road user (the same situation arose when the state transportation department was asked to mark as bike lanes the existing paved shoulders on U.S. 41 in Bonita) but the fact is that they’re making a case against it, based primarily on incidental costs to property owners who will have to relocate their mailboxes and adjust driveway access. Go to BikeWalkLee’s blog pages for more details and to see what can be done to ensure bike lanes are added to Hickory Boulevard.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.
— Dan Moser is a league cycling instructor/trainer and program manager for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation,
recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334-6417.

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