When Karen Flanagan walks across the finish line of the “Step Up with Walgreens” Challenge on Sat., Oct. 20, she’ll be taking the steps at least 21 pounds lighter.
The Manassas resident reluctantly signed up for the challenge in August, prodded by her daughter, Walgreens employee Fawn Flanagan, and now is in the running for an individual prize worth $500.
“I’ve been trying to lose weight,” said Karen, whose wake-up call came when she went in for a physical this summer, the first since “I can’t remember.” Raising five children and being a grandmother to five more, plus working a physically demanding job as a pet groomer, the 55-year-old had just plain neglected her own health. “So when I walked in Walgreens and Fawn said, ‘Mom, come over here!’ I knew I was in for it.”
Karen registered, like 700 other City of Manassas residents, and was assigned to the White Team, led by Glenn Vickers, Regional Director of the Boys & Girls Club. Glenn invited team members to take advantage of free “Low Impact Volleyball” and “Enjoy Virtual Fitness” classes at the Manassas club. A friendly rivalry has the three city-wide teams bantering with each other. The Red Team, led by Lianne Wilkens, “Mom on the Run” columnist for the News & Messenger and the Blue Team, led by Police Chief Douglas Keen and Mayfield Intermediate School Principal Jeff Abt are competing against the White team for a $5,000 neighborhood improvement grant, donated by Walgreens. Team members will decide how the money is to be spent on improving their community.
Meanwhile, Karen tailored her own routine and stuck with it over the past several months. She exercises at home, and joined a fitness club, Planet Fitness. “Healthwise, this is made me more aware of things,” said Karen. “If the White Team wins the grant, I’d like to see more Neighborhood Watch activities where I live.”
Anyone is welcome to join Mayor Harry J. Parrish II for the Step Up with Walgreens Walk on Saturday, October 20, with free sign-up from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Harris Pavilion in Old Town Manassas. The walk starts at 10 a.m. and will track along Grant Avenue and end at the Walgreens at the intersection of Dumfries and Wellington Roads. Look for the Walgreens Wellness Tour Bus, which will be parked in front of the store. Pharmacists will offer free health screenings (cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body mass index). Free flu shots will also be available. The event at the store is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Mayor will announce the winner of the $5,000 grant and Walgreens District Manager Rick Conner will announce individual team winners. For more information, contact Christen Zenich, City of Manassas Neighborhood Services Coordinator at 703-257-8315.