Englewood residents get fit, win prizes

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Because there are no losers in Englewood, the recreation center created The Biggest Winner Challenge.

“I come to the gym and do basketball drills,” said participant Tom Kruck, who found a fun way to enjoy his workouts. “By the end, I am pouring with sweat, and I had fun doing it.”

There were 81 participants this year, who lost an average of 22 pounds over six months. The biggest Biggest Winner, 67-year-old Rick Weekley, lost 43 pounds. Diagnosed with borderline blood pressure and on his way to diabetes, he signed up in an effort to get off of medication.

“I thought if I signed up for it, it would keep me motivated. And it worked,” he said. “The competition and going against the other people. We were all trying to make life better for everbody involved.”

Weekley won an annual membership to the Englewood Recreation Center and a $100 Visa gift card, donated by sponsor Swedish Health One.

“I’m going to buy some new clothes that fit,” he laughed.

All participants earned a variety of free and discounted sessions at the center.

“The Biggest Winner Challenge is a six-month weight-loss challenge designed to provide motivation and tools to make lasting lifestyle changes to not only shed pounds, but also to increase overall health and well-being,” said program administrator Gina Fontaine.

Adult winner Keith Carson never ran before.

“Now I’ve caught the bug,” he said. “I run 2.5 miles, and I want to run the Bolder Boulder next year.” 

Teen winner Gabby Hopping Merlino logged 66 visits to the Englewood Recreation Center during the challenge.

“I love to get up in the morning now and exercise to get my day started right,” she said.  

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