Fenton. Twp — More than a dozen people came out to Linden County Park on Saturday, Oct. 10 to learn a new skill and exercise — race walking. 

 Kathy Gurin, a Lapeer resident, and Robin Keene, who’s from Swartz Creek conducted the race walking clinic, which was the first event in the LAFFAPALOOZA 2020 series to celebrate the opening of the new Argentine Township non-motorized pathway. 

 “Race walking could still be really big. It’s a great option instead of running. It’s still competitive. It’s a technique,” Gurin said. 

 On Saturday, they went through the basic technique of race walking. This includes what stretches to do before

and after a workout, what shoes to wear, what clothes to wear and more. They also taught how not to get injured and how important it is to listen to your body.

 “It gives you a full body workout,” Keene said. “You are working different muscle groups then when you run. It does your inner and outer thighs, your glutes, abdominal muscles, and you don’t have the impact that you have from running.”

 She switched from running to race walking in 1991 when she was pregnant with her son, and she discovered she could walk as fast as she was jogging. 

 Keene got Gurin into race walking when Gurin was going through chemotherapy to treat cancer. 

 “She came to my house, got me off the couch and said, ‘come on, I’m going to teach you how to race walk. It’ll be good for you. That’s kind of where the whole thing started,” Gurin said. 

 They’ve raced walked together for years and have done marathons together. They did the Crim this year, which was virtual, and Keene has previously won two marathons in race walking. 

 Both have done dozens of races. Race walkers can find competitions for 5Ks, 10Ks and more.

 “Those who want to learn to walk faster, we can do that. Those who want to learn to race walk, we’ll show them how to get started with the race walking and techniques,” Keene said. 

 Gurin said the best piece of advice was to invest in a good pair of shoes. 

 “Believe it or not, you can easily put 500 miles on a pair of shoes,” Gurin said. 

 They recently found out about the paths around the tri-county area. Keene said pathways are “really nice” to walk on. They don’t have many in Swartz Creek, so she walks mainly in subdivisions. 

 They’ve trained on all kinds of roads, and some can be more dangerous than others, especially on streets with traffic. 

 “This is a beautiful thing for these guys to have, somewhere where kids can ride and walk and be a little bit safer,” Gurin said, mentioning the pathway in the Linden County Park.

 The new Argentine Township pathway starts at Haviland Beach Drive and Lobdell Road, which is the beginning of the Phase 1 Pathway, and continues into the Linden schools campus where it heads north and then onto Silver Lake Road heading east to the city of Linden.

Other LAFFAPALOOZA 2020 events:

These free fitness-related demonstrations will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Blue Jay Picnic Pavilion at Linden County Park. The schedule is as follows:

• Oct. 17 - Bicycle Maintenance & More with Cycle Fit

• Oct. 24 - Yoga for Runners & Walkers with Lynn North

• Oct. 31 - Juggling with Heather with Heather Durham

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