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The Doings (LaGrange, Illinois)
Jane Michaels. | @janemichaels22

Fitness fans are keeping their fingers crossed they won't have to wear boots for the Walk the Parks event March 29 in LaGrange Park.

"Residents are urged to get off the couch and get outdoors," said Kim Lovejoy-Voss, marketing coordinator for the Greater La Grange YMCA.

The YMCA is partnering with the Community Park District of LaGrange Park and Oasis Women's Spa and Fitness to coordinate Get Active LaGrange Park, a year-round array of fitness activities for all ages, interests and skill levels.

The three groups take turns hosting events each month, and March features a low-key option to get residents reacquainted with the village's six parks and moving after cabin fever and a long, frigid winter.

Participants can start anywhere in town, heading to any park and making their way to the other five for the seven-mile route. Maps will be available online at and at the sponsoring groups, Village Hall and the LaGrange Park Public Library.

Walkers can pick up a wrist band commemorating their efforts between 9 a.m. and noon at the park district office, 1501 Barnsdale Road.

"We've got a nice map and a route worked out where we've made sure people are crossing at a four-way stop sign or a traffic light," said Dean Carrara, superintendent of recreation for the park district.

On May 10, the park district hosts Run for the Roses, a 5K run with a race for kids afterwards. Carrara said the district also is planning a sand volleyball tournament in July and a tennis tournament for October.

Oasis owner Sally Head, who spearheaded the cooperative venture, said she'd like to see LaGrange Park designated as the fittest community in Illinois.

"When we realized what we wanted to do in terms of having people weighed and measured and tracking their activity minutes, that would take a lot of effort," Head said. "For this first year, each one of our sponsoring businesses will host an event every quarter."

The program kicked off with a progressive workout in January. It began with a park district yoga class, moved to a zumba class at the YMCA and finished with a body weight circuit class at Oasis. Participants celebrated with pizza afterward, Head said.

"Unfortunately, it was a snowy day, so we had 8 participants, but they stayed for all three workouts," Head said.

In Feburary, Head hosted a cycling class, circuit training and a boxing workout with gloves at the Oasis for 12 participants.

In future months, Head plans to lead an outdoor boot camp training session, as well as an outdoor yoga class, either at sunrise or sunset.

In addition, Get Active LaGrange Park is promoting existing workouts and opportunities around town, such as the Salt Creek Runners. The group meets at 7:30 a.m. Saturdays at Memorial Park, La Grange Road and Woodland Avenue. Runners take various routes to complete three to six miles.

Head said the program's website,, also lists open tennis matches on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning in April, at Memorial Park. The site welcomes other submissions open to the community, she said.

"Once the weather starts getting better, it will be great with lots going on," she said.


Fact Box:


Mike Caprio pauses after emptying a large tote on his route near Waiola and Jackson avenues in LaGrange Park. | Jane Michaels/Sun-Times Media


March 13, 2014




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