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Keeping the focus on fitness


Danielle Urbine knows she’ll never get confused with Olympic great Mary Decker.

And that’s OK. The 29-year-old human resources professional doesn’t take part in Fort4Fitness to collect medals or fame.

“It’s a way for me to be active and stay after me to keep fit,” says Urbine, who has participated in the annual fitness campaign since its inception six years ago. “It motivates me to exercise. I’ll be in the half marathon this year.”

Where does Urbine rank her chances to come in first place?

“I’d have to shave an hour off my time to do that,” she laughs. “I do it mostly to stay healthy. I’m getting older and pounds seem to stay on if I’m not active. There’s also an incentive at work because I can get lower health insurance deductibles” if she fares well during health screenings.

“I just try not to fall off the wagon after it’s all over,” Urbine says.

She is not alone.

It’s obvious that we still have work to do. Last month, Indiana learned it is the eighth most obese state in the nation, according to the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Nearly a third of Hoosiers are overweight. The report found that more than 65 percent of Indiana adults are obese and more than a quarter of them say they barely get any physical activity.

Fort4Fitness Executive Director Brad Kimmel is hopeful.

“We’re reaching people and breaking down the barriers of intimidation,” Kimmel says, adding that people sometimes feel they have to be avid runners to get involved. “(Urbine) is encouraging a lot of people and that’s what we want.”

For 47-year-old Douglas Dye, physical activity comes with the territory at his job. He is 1st Sgt. at Indiana Air National Guard in Fort Wayne.

“I had just completed a tour when the first Fort4Fitness was starting,” Dye says. “I figured it was something that would keep me in decent shape.”

He figured right.

“My first year of doing the half marathon I felt like someone had shot me in my hips for three days,” Dye says. “After a while, it became a challenge to me. I’m 6-foot-1. I weighed over 200 pounds, but now I weigh 185 pounds. I’ve kept it there.”

Testimonies like that are what Fort4Fitness is all about, Kimmel says.

“That’s really what we’re going for,” he says. “It’s not about coming in first, but about getting people moving.”