Here in Austin, apparently, we’re motivated to exercise by food and booze.
First came the Austin Beer Run Club, which draws about 100 people to a weekly 5K run followed by beer drinking. Then we got bRUNch Running, which wraps up its twice-monthly runs with a decadent brunch. Now we present Yomosas, the yoga and mimosas club.
Chris Bash, who created the Austin Beer Run Club, started the yoga group about six months ago. Also of note: Bash’s email address includes the words “exerciseandexcess.”
The group meets at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Abel’s on the Lake, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., for a one-hour hatha yoga class followed by a breakfast buffet. Cost is $16 — packages available — plus $8 for access to the breakfast taco bar with veggie or vegan options, $2 mimosas and $10 carafes.
Jenny Loehr, who teaches at YogaYoga, leads the weekly classes.
Classes take place upstairs at Abel’s, in a space overlooking the lake that has hardwood floors and sliding garage doors that open to chirping birds and splashing water.
The yoga class is more social than hardcore. “We like to exercise, and we also like to have a drink now and then,” Bash says. “We feel like it’s the carrot at the end of the stick.”
Participants should bring their own mats. All ages welcome. Register in advance at yomosas.club; drop-ins also welcome.
Austinite medals at National Senior Games
Congrats to Joe Barger, who just returned from the National Senior Games in Minneapolis, where he scooped up an impressive six medals.
Barger, 89, nabbed gold medals in the 5K and 1,500 meters, silver medals in the 10K and 800 meters, and bronze medals in the 200 and 400 meters. He also collected a bronze medal in the 50 meters — because, as he says, “It was too short and I couldn’t get started.”
To qualify for the National Senior Games, athletes must first qualify at the state level. The 2015 games marked Barger’s fourth trip to the national competition. He competed, in accordance with official rules, in the 90- to 94-year-old age group, because he turns 90 later this season.
Relatively speaking, he hasn’t been running long. He started about 25 years ago, when he was 64.
“The fact is my daughter got on me about my big belly. She said, ‘You’ve got to do something,’ so I’ve got to thank her for pushing me to running,” Barger says.
Barger’s daughter, wife and granddaughter traveled to Minneapolis to cheer him on at the competition. He’s modest about his accomplishments.
“The older you get, the slower you get; but there’s less competition,” he says. His secret to success? “I just keep doing it.”
Barger stays in running shape by participating in numerous road races around Austin. Among his favorites are the Statesman Capitol 10,000 and the Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot. He does longer events, too. In 2014, he completed the 3M Half Marathon in 2:59:15.4. This year he clocked a 3:04:09.
“(Running) takes your mind off everything else,” he says. “You’re your own person and really competing against the clock and yourself. It’s a good way to clear your mind.”
He trains with coach Valerie Hunt, who teaches what is called the “pose” method of running. “I started to quit a couple years ago, then found out I could use a little less energy and still run,” he says. “She’s an inspiration.”
He didn’t participate in sports growing up in Tennessee. He served in the Navy during World War II, then earned a degree in engineering. He worked for IBM for almost 30 years.
The Senior Games are held every other year, and Barger already is planning to compete in 2017. To compete, athletes must be at least 50 years old.
Gazelle Foundation reaches milestone
As Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies would say, “One million dollars!”
That’s how much the Austin-based nonprofit Gazelle Foundation has raised to build pipelines that provide clean, accessible drinking water to people in Burundi, Africa.
Local drum-beating, run-with-joy-shouting coach Gilbert Tuhabonye founded the nonprofit foundation in 2006. In 2009, the organization built its first water system for 1,500 villagers in the country, which is sandwiched between Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Burundi was mired in civil war from 1993 to 2008, and Tuhabonye is a survivor of the genocide there. According to World Bank statistics, the country ranks as the second-poorest country in the world.
“Without the community support at Run for the Water, Spring for the Water, Walk for the Water and countless contributions from individuals and schools throughout Central Texas, we could not have reached this day — and I believe it is only the beginning,” Tuhabonye, chairman of the board of the foundation, said in a news release.
The Gazelle Foundation is one of only a handful of charities working in Burundi, the release said. The water systems being built there use gravity to carry water from underground natural springs. They require no pumping and little maintenance.
In all, the 24 water delivery systems built by the foundation incorporate more than 70 miles of underground pipes.
This year’s Run for the Water 10-Mile, 5K, Kids K and Global Run event is scheduled for Nov. 1.