By Larry Whitley, Fort Meade Public Affairs Office

Doing Different

“Over and over, people claim they are sick of the place they find themselves in – whether it's their job, their education level, their relationships and, yes, their overall health and wellness,” said April Hartsook, a health and wellness training business owner.

With that as a starting point, along with her own personal experiences, Hartsook, who teamed with the leadership at Gaffney Fitness Center to provide an opportunity for women to engage in a health and wellness lifestyle that could help [at] “50, 60, 70, 80 years old.  It wasn’t for a pat on the back,” offered the mother of four and wife of a military retiree.

Hartsook, a DOD Contractor at Gaffney Fitness Center, put together a training program designed to fit the expressed desires of interested women in the Fort Meade community.

“We didn’t [exactly] set out to accomplish what we accomplished but…,” Hartsook said.

What they accomplished was completing a marathon run of 26.2 miles over a course laid out on Fort Meade.

“My girls and I ran 26.2 miles in the pouring down, freezing cold rain on Fort Meade, while another team member completed her marathon at Fort Buchanan in 91 degree sunny Puerto Rican weather, and yet another at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas completed hers in the frigid cold front that brought snow that day,” said Hartsook.   

“The journey has been difficult as we navigated Zoom calls, virtual training plans, FaceTime meetings and group chats for 20 straight weeks,” said Hartsook. “But everyone has made this into an incredibly uplifting and amazing experience that I feel would be something of great value to share during these unprecedented times.

“We all need encouragement to keep going and to learn to do different – two of my specialties!”

Hartsook concluded that “staying active is a very therapeutic outlet for the mind and body.”

(Editor’s note: Listen to an amazing podcast discussion with April Hartsook on Fort Meade Declassified, Episode 21!)