Susan Polniaszek, Bill Amos and Jeannie Plunkett are hot, sweating and happy. At 8 a.m., they’re already back inside The Lutheran Village at Miller’s Grant in Ellicott City after a workout completed outside in typical Maryland soupy humidity.
They’re training to compete in the Howard Community College (HCC) 5K Challenge Race, this year on Oct. 13, a team event where individuals race for the fastest combined score as they run, climb, and even crawl their way to the finish line.
HCC teams up with Columbia Association to organize the race, which typically raises more than $100,000 for student scholarships.
Participants walk or run the course, tiptoeing through tires, carrying medicine balls, limboing under ropes, and more.
This is the fourth year that Miller’s Grant, a senior living community, has participated, sometimes forming a team of around 40 people.
Polniaszek said she believes training for the 5K Challenge is a natural extension of the mentality at Miller’s Grant. “Many of us are very physically fit, and you’ve got to keep fit to age healthily.”
They particularly enjoy the camaraderie of walking or running around the 50-acre Lutheran Village campus, then they supplement their workout with other activities, including pickle ball, tennis, aerobics and swimming.
“I’m proud to be part of the Miller’s Grant team,” reflected Amos. “Our team also allows people who are less able to get out and exercise to still come out to be with the group.”
Plunkett uses a walking stick and is usually accompanied by Amos’s wife, Marcy. “Having Marcy walk with me allows me to go at a slower pace so I can stop and appreciate the nature around me,” said Plunkett.