This weekend’s Coast Guard Festival Runs are expected to have around 2,000 participants. For many, it will be just another Saturday. But for others, it will be a day they never thought possible — an achievement they would never take for granted.
That’s certainly the case for Gail Krug, who will be one of the 20-plus 5K runners associated with two different North Ottawa Community Health System programs — its medical weight loss and bariatric. Last year around this time, she was 120 pounds heavier. After losing the weight through North Ottawa’s medical weight loss program, the former Grand Haven High School teacher jumped to join fellow medical and bariatric members in running the 5K.
“That’s the only way I would have done this,” said Krug, who gave credit to exercise physiologist Kelly Liggett for suggesting the race to the group. The health system is a title sponsor of the festival. “I wouldn’t have had the courage to think that me, who barely could have walked three miles last year, would have signed up for a 5K. That’s so outside the realm of my consciousness. I would have never done this.”
It’s a little bit of a different situation for Carrie Ledet.
The Grand Haven Township resident received gastric sleeve surgery in August of 2012, losing about 100 pounds. Ledet, who was a competitive swimmer in high school, fulfilled her dream of finishing a 5K in last year’s Coast Guard Festival Run. She said she’s happy to have more company this time around.
“I think it will be fun,” said Ledet. “Last year, I was the only one from the bariatric program who ran it. It will just be fun to be with a group of people who have come as far. We’re not concerned about time, we’re just here to be healthy and support each other.”
The group, which has lost a combined 1,350 pounds, will be wearing shirts with their slogan — “Little Victories” — on it, and a checkmark next to a box that said 5K. Little Victories is about people struggling with obesity striving to achieve things in life that come easy to others. This includes daily activities like wearing a seat belt, finding clothes at a store or feeling comfortable exercising.
“Little things like running a 5K,” said Ledet when asked what the phrase meant to her. “That’s not a big deal to some people. It took me a whole summer to do that.”
Krug and Ledet were both at the front of the line for their respective programs.
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