‘It’s not a me, it’s a we’

RCC dedicates Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Video – a virtual tour
Previous coverage:
* May 19: RCC to build Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail
* July 10: RCC seeks support of planned fitness trail
* Sept. 3: Fitness trail gets $3,000 boost

HAMLET — In Dr. Dale McInnis’ state of the college address on Oct. 20, the Richmond Community College president said that the campus community is “strong and vibrant.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Thomas McDonald, far left, and two friends look at the map at the trailhead of the newly dedicated Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail at Richmond Community College.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Thomas McDonald, left, and two friends look at the map at the trailhead of the newly dedicated Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail at Richmond Community College.

On Wednesday, it took another step towards getting stronger — and healthier. More than 100 people gathered at the renovated Forte Building for a 20-minute ceremony to dedicate the Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail, a low-impact track with a crushed limestone surface. Along the roughly two-thirds of a mile trail, 10 fitness stations are set up to encourage stretching and core muscle-building.

Mary Ellen Kindley sat in the front row of the keystone engineering building as her husband and former Rockingham mayor, G.R. Kindley, talked about wanting the trail for more than walking. The fitness component, he said, was critical. So was another part of the project, which is intended for walkers and runners. Wheeled vehicles are discouraged to help prevent erosion.

“We wanted something far beyond just a walking trail,” Kindley said. “You’ve got to get around the track to really appreciate what there is.”

And what is, Kindley and McInnis emphasized, is open to the community. McInnis said college officials, with Kindley’s spearheading spirit, have turned usable land “into an asset.”

“We want everyone in the community to take advantage of this,” McInnis said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Mary Ellen and G.R. Kindley are given a vehicle tour of the Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail by RCC Executive Vice President Brent Barbee.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Mary Ellen and G.R. Kindley are given a vehicle tour of the Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail by RCC Executive Vice President Brent Barbee.

From a curriculum standpoint, McInnis said the project aligns with the June hiring of the school’s first full-time physical education instructor.

The school hired Gary Aycock because the new articulation agreement that smooths students’ transition from two-year schools to four-year public universities in North Carolina require a physical education component. In addition, Richmond Early College students also have a PE requirement.

While available to the community, RCC Executive Vice President Brent Barbee said college employees have a stake in the project — including sweat equity. Many are able to leave campus early each Friday but on one scheduled work day, some two dozen changed from professional attire to jeans and T-shirts to clear debris. Now the trail is wide and smooth.

The project — tree clearing, discounted stone from Vulcan Materials and more, cost about $25,000. Twelve percent of that came by way of a donation from the RCC Student Government Association. SGA President Thomas McDonald and friends stood at the trailhead Wednesday afternoon, after the 20-minute dedication indoors due to the wind and 50-degree temperature, and looked in in admiration on a trail map.

“We’re making history,” McDonald said.

The donation wasn’t unanimous, McDonald said. One student member reportedly voted against it because, McDonald said, the student felt it wouldn’t be of a personal benefit.

Wylie Bell | Richmond Community College Members of the Kindley family, including Mary Ellen, front, and G.R., second from left, stand at the trailhead outside the Forte Building.

Wylie Bell | Richmond Community College
Members of the Kindley family, including Mary Ellen, front, and G.R., second from left, stand at the trailhead outside the Forte Building.

“It’s not a ‘me’, it’s a ‘we,'” McDonald said of the bigger picture.

The 10 stations are designed to enhance the experience of each walker or runner. Stations include a calf stretch, a hamstring stretch, a bent knee hang, a sit-up and leg raise station and a fifth for a leg stretch and push-ups. The fitness experience continues at station No. 6 through a body raise and reverse pull-up bar, a balance walk at No. 7, a side bend at No. 8, a hamstring pull and lift and drop at No. 9 and, at the 10th and final station, a tension release element of neck rolls.

Each station has a weather-resistant sign with illustrations and text indicating what to do and how. The trail also has several benches along the route, which is adjacent to Richmond Community College Lake and just barely visible through the pine trees as one approaches the end of the trail.

Of the more than 100 people in attendance, only a handful of people — about half a dozen — actually walked the length of the trail, while Mary Ellen and G.R. Kindley were driven along the trail by RCC Executive Vice President Brent Barbee.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Dr. Dale McInnis, Richmond Community College president, and his wife Thomasa walk along the Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Dr. Dale McInnis, Richmond Community College president, and his wife Thomasa walk along the Mary Ellen Kindley Fitness Trail.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Click on each image to see a larger version.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Click on each image to see a larger version.

 

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Hamlet, Health, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors

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