Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dan Moser column: Striders running and walking program expanding

This week's column focuses on the inspiring running and walking program in Fort Myers for those recovering from substance abuse, along with lots of upcoming events, including the Fight for Air Climb.  The advocacy update highlights the FDOT/Lee County bike/ped safety campaign underway in April and May, including the USDOT Tampa Bike Summit that BikeWalkLee and Lee officials will be participating in.

Florida Weekly, April 10, 2013
Dan Moser
Striders, the local running and walking program that’s been focused on those in substance abuse recovery since its inception more than a year ago, is expanding. Organizers are hoping the public will join in when Community Cooperative Ministries Inc., begins leading the activities from its Fort Myers campus to Clemente Park. Thursday mornings are being considered, but details are still in development.

Thanks to the partnership with Synderman’s Shoes, SWFAS participants who otherwise are unable to afford footwear appropriate for Striders’ activities are supplied with this necessary resource. As the program expands, supply will undoubtedly be overwhelmed by demand, so consider donating running and walking shoes that are in good condition or add to the voucher fund that Rotary has in place. For more information about Striders and to donate resources, contact Roger Mercado at

The Fight for Air Climb takes place at High Point Place, seen behind the sculpture in Centennial Park.  
Centennial Park in Fort Myers

Upcoming events
The unique event I’ve been writing about for some time now is almost upon us: Fight for Air Climb  happens at High Point Place on Saturday, April 27. This is our local American Lung Association chapter’s primary fundraiser, so your participation and, for those ci not participating, financial support of those who are, is a very good way to help ALA reach its goal. Besides the big-picture benefit, you’ll find this event to be a lot of fun.

Don’t let 30-stories of stair climbing be intimidating; the average climb time is well under 10 minutes. The winning time has been under three minutes, and most firefighters in full gear beat the 10-minute mark as well. The point is that while it’s very challenging if you want to push yourself, it’s still very doable for the average person. And the fun at High Point poolside that follows will help you forget all about the effort you put forth just prior.

Another atypical annual event that’s happening on the same day as the Fight for Air Climb is the Open Water Festival ( This year it’ll be in the fresh water of Miromar Lakes. Prior to that is the African Aid 5K ( If the 13.1- miles of Hooters-to-Hooters Half Marathon was too much of a challenge but you’d like to run or walk on McGregor Boulevard, here’s your chance. It’s happening on Saturday, April 20, and staged from New Hope Presbyterian Church at 3825 McGregor Blvd. After the race, ride your bike to nearby Alliance for the Arts to enjoy Earth Day activities at the Green Family Expo ( During the day, I’ll be making presentations on the topics of cycling, walking and running. Newly published Lee County bike maps will be available as well. And on Saturday, May 11, Lovers Key State Park hosts the Turtle Trot 5K (, a race that’s run mostly on unpaved trails that really allow participants to experience the whole park.

Advocacy update
It’s no secret much of Florida is less than bike/ped-friendly, a serious problem that’s particularly true in our part of the state. In fact, because Lee County is identified as one of the 10 most problematic in Florida, the Florida Department of Transportation is focusing resources here. “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” kicks off in early May and will include an ongoing public awareness campaign and resources for law enforcement agencies to be more proactive in helping reduce crashes that involve pedestrians and bicyclists. In a related matter, USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood’s office invited representatives from BikeWalkLee, Lee County’s Sustainability Office and the Florida Bicycle Association to be presenters at the Southeast Regional Bicycle Safety Summit. It’s taking place in Tampa on Thursday, April 11, so I’ll have a report in my next column, as well as details of the FDOT kick-off event as planning is finalized. Until then, BikeWalkLee’s blog will keep you up to date.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.
— Dan Moser is a league cycling and CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and programs director 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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