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Have you ever had one of those friends you just looked at in awe for their commitment to physical fitness? I do; her name is Josie Brillon and she loves to run. And run she does. She runs at night, she runs in the morning. She runs hungover, she runs when she's sick. You'd never know she's over 50 years old.

How does she stay this committed? Her running club. Much like any other social group, the running club is focused around its members all sharing a similar love, in this case, their love of running. Her running club, Katy Fit—ATP runs every day except Friday, everyone is over 50 and they can all kick your ass on the track. I wanted to learn more about how I could make fitness a priority and stick to it, so I polled the members with three simple questions: How long have you been running and why? What does being fit over 50 mean to you? What does this running club mean to you? Their answers might surprise and inspire you (they certainly did me).

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The Katy Fit—ATP running group

Mark Coleman (Head Coach):

I’ve been running since I was in high school. I was very good in the 1 mile run, moved on to college and just kept running. Since then I’ve run about 30 marathons and my fair share of half-marathons. I’m from Louisiana and love Southern cooking, so staying fit is essential. Cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure runs in the family and I can say that I have no problems as of yet, nor have to take any medications, two things I attribute to being fit.

I started running with Katy Fit and was assisting with Blue Green team, and two years later I became the head coach for ATP (Advance Training Program). I have to say that this program has achieved a lot; many of my runners have made it to Boston Marathon and won their age group. We operate just like tight-knit family, committed to each other and our passion for running.

Alfred Knies

I love Katy Fit! I started running with Katy Fit 12 years ago and I am still running with them. I have run 26 marathons and completed the Ironman in May of this year because of Katy Fit! I am 62 and my resting heart rate is 42!

Yolanda Aquino

I have been running marathons since 2010 and running in general since I was in high school. I love running. I find it therapeutic and being one with nature is fascinating. Being fit over 50 means being able to do what you are passionate about and looking great at the same time, especially when you end up looking better than younger folks!

Katy Fit is a great running club. You share one thing that you are passionate about, which is running, of course, and end up meeting all different kinds of people. We talk about family, pets and events while we're running. Friendships are forged with these amazing people, as we challenge each other while at the same time supporting each other so that together we achieve milestones. We are a family.

Carol Hollis

I’ve been running about 6½ years. One Sunday morning I came across the Chevron Marathon—I thought it looked like it would be fun and maybe I’d try that. However, at the time I never thought I would run a marathon. That same year I ran my first 5K and I was hooked.

Being fit over 50 is extremely important to me. My parents have had numerous health issues such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. I have to do everything I can to keep myself as healthy as possible so that I can enjoy life to the fullest. The Katy Fit ATP group is like family to me. I absolutely love this group. They have encouraged me to improve and inspired me by their own commitment to the sport. The more I run with them the closer I feel. They are my running family.

Fran Beale

I was a couch potato my entire life until 2011 when I realized gentle walking around my neighborhood was not going to shift those love handles. I bought Run Your Butt Off and followed their advice to sign up for a charity 5K. Being an older runner, I have found it helps keep the weight off (no more love handles!) and that I can still eat pretty much what I want, especially since joining ATP. I have a minor heart murmur and running has helped keep my heart strong.

Psychologically I feel running keeps me alert. I had been dreading hitting the big 5-0 and then I started to win medals in my age group—now I am so proud of being 50, as I had never won anything in my life! I hope to be still running as a very old lady—and hopefully still collecting awards!

Josie Loy Brillon

I’ve been running since junior high—I ran cross country and track all through school and fell in love with long distance. I’ve ran 11 half-marathons to date and will be running my first full marathon in January 2017. Being fit over 50 means a lot to me and not just because I want to look good and be healthy. I want to be able to enjoy life at every age coming my way and running helps both my body and mind stay healthy.

Running for ATP running club has been one of the best experiences of my life. They are my family, they lift me up when I need to be stronger and keep me going. If you are new to running, I highly recommend joining a running club, it will change your life.

In sum, if these fabulous folks over 50 can do it, so can you. They would love to run with you—if you can keep up!

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