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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Why do they do it?
Because they can.
Brookeville resident Jennifer Evans has organized a run/walk group for women in the Olney/Brookeville area based on that very simple sentence.
The group, called Because We Can, meets once a month to exercise. The group is for anyone, any pace and any distance.
“It’s all about moving with other gals to connect, give and stay healthy,” she said. “We are so fortunate to be able to move. And the bond during a workout, run or walk is so therapeutic, uplifting and necessary.
“The really awesome part of this group is how we spotlight a different charity each month, giving a little back to our community,” Evans added. “Because we can.”
Evans, an avid runner, first moved to Brookeville in 2003.
“I thought there had to be other runners and that we should organizing something where other runners or walkers in the community could meet or find others at their pace,” she said. “It was a lingering idea, but when I told someone about it — saying it out loud — I just had to do it.”
In November, she sent out invitations to all the runners and walkers she knew.
The group meets once a month at Manor Oaks Park. It started with 12-15 participants, but the number is growing as word gets out.
The walkers’ route is usually down Old Baltimore Road, around Lake Hallowell and back. Runners go farther, depending on their ability and the time they have available.
“If it fits into your schedule, you show up,” Evans said. “If not, it’s not a big deal. It will happen again next month.”
And each month, a charity is decided on by the group participants.
“We are all so lucky to be able to move and to give to other people,” Evans said. “That’s where the charity part came in. People know of the important needs of the community.”
The donated items are always something small and likely something the participants already have.
“The goal is not to have to worry about it or spend a lot of money,” Evans said. “And between everyone, it ends up being a substantial donation.”
Previous collections have included dog toys, treats and towels for the Warrior Canine Connection; kitchen and toiletry items for a local family in need; “kid foods” for Manna Food Center; and this month, school supplies for the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless.
For Earth Day, instead of donating, the walkers and runners each carried a trash bag and picked up trash along their route.
Evans said the charity component has been a positive element of the group and has kept it going stronger.
After each event, Evans says participants are left with “a really awesome feeling.”
“You’ve already exercised, you’ve already given to a charity, you’ve already talked with people and you have accomplished something,” she said. “Everyone leaves with a really positive start to their day. I wasn’t expecting that. I just wanted more accountability and just to be grateful that we are able to move.”
The group is open to new members. Those interested should join the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecauseWeCan.BWC/, where upcoming events will be posted.
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