Just about every weekend you’ll find Marine Park resident Barbara Klasewitz running the show – literally! While she’s crushing her exercise goals for the day with a healthy jog, she’s also helping the neighborhood’s free running/walking program and encouraging others to hop on the fitness train at both Canarsie Park and Marine Park!
Since April was National Volunteer Month, it was only fitting that Klasewitz earned a well-deserved induction into the 2022 New York Road Runners (NYRR) Volunteer Recognition and Hall of Fame.
Her efforts were recently celebrated by the citywide organization which hosts weekly “Open Runs” – open to residents of all ages and fitness levels. Klasewitz is a Volunteer Captain and Run Director who has, along with two other volunteers, logged in over 500 hours of service.
Volunteers arrive at the parks early to set up route markers and ensure that everyone who joins is properly registered and receives their timing tags. They also make sure participants’ run/walk finish times are recorded in the program’s virtual portal. Some of the volunteers even lead the fun groups in helpful dynamic and aesthetic stretches before everyone takes off on a three-mile trek around their respective park.
Klasewitz, 64, has been volunteering with the local running group since 2015 and has completed over 250 community run/walks. She also ran the TCS NYC Marathon and lost 100 pounds – a testament to how staying committed to your goals leads to results!
“I have completed four of the TCS NYC Marathons as well as several half marathons,” she told the Canarsie Courier.
Her athletic spirit extends beyond her weekly volunteer efforts, as she typically aims to complete 25,000 steps a day – which sometimes covers 12-15 miles per day in total.
“What I enjoy most about volunteering with NYRR Open Run is that it gives me the chance to give back to the program what it gave it me,” she noted. “When I first started in 2015 as a walker, I could not even jog around Marine Park – and if you asked me at that point about doing a marathon, I would have looked at you and said, ‘You’re nuts!’ Well, years later, not only can I jog around the various parks three times, but I have done a lot more.”
Volunteering, she said, gives her a chance to encourage others the way she was encouraged. “I feel that this is extremely important,” Klasewitz added. “The camaraderie is what makes the program so special.”
You can catch this energetic volunteer at Canarsie Park’s Open Run on Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Marine Park’s Open Run on Sundays at 9 a.m.