How Free Run/Walk Club Changes Lives

Registration for next session of Duke Run/Walk Club underway

Duke’s Run/Walk Club returns Aug. 18 and all Duke employees and their dependents can join the club, which is sponsored by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke’s employee wellness program.

The free 12-week program runs to Nov. 5 and meets from after work Monday and Wednesday afternoons. At all locations, leaders stress a social atmosphere to make exercise feel fun and not just a routine.

“Working out doesn’t have to be work,” said Katie MacEachern, a fitness specialist with LIVE FOR LIFE. “We want to offer fun ways to help people feel better while also creating bonds that won’t make exercise feel like another routine.”

Walkers and beginning runners meet at the East Campus wall on Broad Street; more advanced runners and walkers meet in front of The Finch Yeager Building at Wallace Wade Stadium. Additional groups meet from 5 to 6 p.m. at Duke Regional and  Duke Raleigh hospitals and from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. at the Patient Revenue Management Organization, off South Alston Ave in Durham.

Sign up for Run/Walk is now open. Here’s how the club has helped three staff members at Duke:

Cheryl Morgan Maxey, clinical research coordinator, Investigational Chemotherapy Service

Why I joined Run/Walk: I had lost nearly 50 pounds and had been active walking, hiking and biking. A friend had been in the Run/Walk Club before and encouraged me to join.  I hadn’t run since middle school so I was hesitant, but joined.

Fitness accomplishment: Since joining, I’ve run in two 5K events. I’ve now lost a total of 65 pounds in the last year and a half, with 15 of it being since joining the Run/Walk Club.

My motivation for exercise: To be healthier. I’m losing weight slowly, but at the same time, I am much more fit.  In addition to the two 5Ks, I’ve done a 50-mile bike ride along with other long distance rides and long hikes.

My personal exercise goals: To continue with weight loss and with personal fitness challenges. I’d like to see my time for running 5Ks improve as I continue to run.


Ted Demas, financial performance analyst, Human Resources Benefits

Why I joined Run/Walk: So I could increase my endurance. It’s a painless way to get going in a workout program. I’m already walking further at one time than I thought I could - two times around East Campus at a brisk clip.

Fitness accomplishment: Proving to myself I can do it. It gives you more zest for life. You’re better conditioned so if someone wants to do something with you, you’ll say ‘yeah, let’s do it’ instead of sitting on the couch, watching TV.

My motivation for exercise: A desire to get past my low energy level and to relieve stress. Run/Walk helped me develop new habits.

Words of wisdom: Give Run/Walk a try – it’s good for the body and the mind. A healthy, happy workforce is going to be more productive. I have to be in favor of that because it makes us a better team.


Yvette Jones, human resources representative, Facilities Management

Why I joined Run/Walk: In the past I would often start jogging and due to the weather or stressful life moments, I would stop becoming more active. I joined Run/Walk because I wanted to become consistent. I hoped that my consistency would be due to team accountability, because I tend to do better when there is a team effort.

Fitness accomplishment: I’ve established a routine to include Saturdays as a workout day. I’m currently able to jog 10 miles on the American Tobacco Trail. I’ve also had to buy new clothes because the old ones did not fit anymore.

My motivation for exercise: Initially, my motivation for exercising was to become a healthier, better person. I really enjoy getting out and jogging. However, since I started with Run/Walk, my younger sister began facing a medical challenge, so now I jog for a purpose to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

How Run/Walk changed my life: Getting together and having an accountability team has allowed me to integrate an exercise regimen that will help me for the rest of my life. The Run/Walk group has proven to be a life-changing factor that has inspired me and provided me with a route to a healthier lifestyle, physical fitness, and with a greater ability in dealing with challenges.