1 of 2 Katie Links, 80, has been with the Bluegum Fitness Club since its inception five years ago. Exercising for the mind, body and spirit. That is the motto of the Bluegum Fitness Club in Bonteheuwel, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary. FounderJennifer Grey said she had a vision to start an exercise club for all the women who were at home during the day – with many facing challenges within their families.“Here we can destress, exercise, and socialise. We also have a lot of outings and weekends away,” Ms Grey said. The club has grown from 10 members to 50, and women from the age of 40 have joined up. The group is not only there for the members’ physical health, but also to support one another emotionally and spiritually.Members have transformed one of the store rooms at the Bluegum community centre -where they meet – into a prayer room.“If we have problems or illnesses, we go to the prayer room. And we have members from the Christian and Muslim faiths,” Ms Grey said. Many of the members can share stories of how being part of the club improved their health. Some have chronic illnesses, but have made remarkable improvement that they are even off the medication. Joyce Gouvea said she was so unfit when she joined the club, that she couldn’t even bend. “I have high blood pressure, but since being with the club, it’s all under control now,” Ms Gouvea added. Nawaal Hassiem said an injury left her with “eight screws in my back”, and the exercise has helped her deal with the pain.Doris Cochlan used a walking stick when she joined the club, but she no longer needs it, and Jamiela Davids had hip replacement surgery, but not even that can slow her down. Katie Links, 80, is the club’s oldest member, who has been with the group since its inception. The executive of the club, are, from left, Jean Brooks, Jennifer Grey, Fatima Skippers, Mary Kammies, and Joyce Gouvea. Katie Links, 80, has been with the Bluegum Fitness Club since its inception five years ago.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 BERLIN – Yasuko Hashimoto outclassed the field to win the Berlin Marathon for her first career victory on Sunday, giving Japan the women’s title in the annual race for the fourth straight year.Hashimoto clocked 2 hours, 26 minutes, 32 seconds while Emily Kimuria of Kenya followed in second in 2:28:18 and Ornella Ferrara of Italy third in 2:28:28. GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES In the men’s race, 34-year-old Kenyan Paul Tergat set a new world record with a time of 2:04:55.Hashimoto broke away from the pack around the 34-km mark and never looked back on her way to claiming the title, following in the footsteps of compatriot Naoko Takahashi, who won the past two Berlin meets and a set a world record here in 2001. Kazumi Matsuo won the 2000 Berlin Marathon as the first Japanese ever to win the meet.“I’m glad to have been able to run here, and even happier to have won. I hope this Berlin Marathon victory helps me in the competition for an Olympic berth,” said Hashimoto.In the men’s action, Tergat and Sammy Korir set the pace from the outset en route to breaking the 2:05:00 barrier for the first time in the history of the sport. Korir finished second in 2:04:56 and Titus Munji third in 2:06:15 to complete a Kenyan podium sweep.Tergat rewrote by 43 seconds the previous mark of 2:05:38 set by American Khalid Khannouchi at the London Marathon in April 2002. Kazuhiro Matsuda, who finished sixth with a time of 2:09:49, was the top finisher among Japanese runners in the men’s race.