Fortunately, as we all did our parts everything fell into place and the event exceeded our expectations. Seniors from 4 different walking groups (Chula Vista, Lakeside, West Center, and Southeast San Diego) showed up, and I loved seeing them light up as they reunited with their fellow walkers and friends. Most seniors stuck to their respective walking groups, and looking back, one thing I wish we did differently was mixing up the groups more so that people can talk to and connect with others outside of their walking group. During the walk, I trailed the back end to ensure we didn't lose anyone, and I got to walk and talk with a few of the walkers from the West Center. A couple of the Filipino women from the West Center group started singing oldie love songs (I can't remember which song) as they were walking and their joyful energy was so contagious, I couldn't help but join their little group and cheer them on. I had a longer conversation with one of them, and she told me that before joining the walking group 4 years ago, she had to walk with a cane and had very limited mobility. She struggled to reach the goal of 10,000 steps, but she made it her goal to reach it and eventually walk without the cane. I looked at her in awe and in disbelief that she ever had a cane. This woman had such youthful energy and liveliness, and was singing the loudest too. I even had trouble keeping up with her pace as we talked. She also told me how she also really enjoyed dancing, and would go to different restaurant spots in San Diego with live bands and dance every weekend. Before when she had her cane, she would always watch others dance from her seat though she really wanted to join them. And so after a year or so of walking, she did. She danced, met her goal of 10,000 steps daily, and lost the cane.
In that short time we spoke, I was so inspired by her resilience, determination but also her pure love for life. "Go dance! Go sing! Life is too short to not enjoy it," were her words of wisdom to me. After that conversation with her, it made putting together this event so much more worth it. It's amazing what a simple walk in the park can do for someone, and I hope that with the Walkathon we were able to connect more people through this simple idea.