Megan Stewart, “2013 was the year fitness got fun,” Vancouver Courier, 24 December 2013.
Running isn’t just for runners anymore. And racing wasn’t something only racers did this year.
In 2013, the stamina sport of barefoot purists, weekend trailblazers, lanky Kenyans and P.E. teachers found legions of new fans thanks to anti-establishment events that put the dance into endurance. Yes, I wrote that.
The emergence of playful 5k runs is an answer to the punishing military-inspired obstacle courses like the half-marathon distance Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race. Only suckers sign up to suffer. (I’ll be doing the Tough Mudder next year.)
Instead of boot camp abuse, repetitive circuits and urban fitness regimes to prepare for barbed wire, 10-foot walls, frozen water and electrocution, the preparation for these gentler, more playful events amounts to little more than lacing up a pair of shoes and showing up with a group of raucous friends, ideally without a hangover.
The softer, light-hearted side of exercise doesn’t mean you can slack off. You still signed up to run; you just expect to keep a smile on your face the whole time.
The most incredible development in Vancouver recreation this year, however, focused on mental exercise as much as physical exertion. Credit to Germaine Koh for founding League, an open organization that emphasizes problem-solving as a form of play.
Koh is an artist who holds a three-year residency at the field house in Elm Park. On the last Sunday of each month, League meets at the Kerrisdale location at noon and everyone is invited to “drop in to exercise your strategic instincts, stretch rules and limits, and workshop ideas for action.”