Monthly Archives: April 2023

Going the Distance One ‘Healthy Stride’ at a Time

Every year, hundreds of runners, joggers and walkers participate in the Healthy Strides 5K and 10K Run/Walk event. Whether racing to a new personal best time or just getting out for a beautiful stroll around the lake, the event provides a great opportunity for individuals and friends, old and young, to stretch their legs and enjoy a morning of energizing activity and fun.

“It doesn’t Matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop.” – Confucius

Recently, one participant shared her experience of perseverance and achievement at last year’s Healthy Strides 5K/10K event. After having jogged the 5K event in previous years and feeling energized by the people and environment around her, she set a goal to run the 10K.

“I recall that I was the ONLY one from my county agency to sign up for it,” said Veronica Fiorini, “and thought to myself ‘oh boy, what did I do!’”

Running Truth: The extra mile is much easier than the first mile!

Veronica visits the county’s gym facilities and enjoys working out and keeping fit, but she will be the first to admit she’s not a runner. So even the thought of attempting to go beyond the 5K seemed daunting. Determined she stepped to the starting line and, in her own words: “I just went for it!” Jogging the first leg of the trail she definitely felt the strain. Doubts crossed her mind.

“Maybe I’m not as fit as I thought I was,” she thought. Fighting through the initial struggle, she kept moving forward one stride at a time. “I just focused on keeping up with the people around me, I felt empowered and believed that I could totally do this.”

Then, somewhere along the trail, discomfort was replaced by serenity of the dawn over Burke Lake and struggle was replaced with confidence fueled by the encouragement of her fellow runners. 

“People around me would encourage us to keep going and push through and to keep it up,” she said. “It was awesome. Nothing better than the community coming together for a great event like this one.”

“I Run Because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.” – Arthur Blank

For Veronica, crossing the finish line at the 2022 Healthy Strides 10K event was not a celebration of mere survival, but of achievement. Through the 6.2-mile course, she confronted struggle, pain, uncertainty and fatigue and came out triumphant. She proved that she could extend herself beyond her own expectations – and that feeling is one that lasts.

“There’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you push yourself to do something different and try something new, without expectations, and actually finishing,” Veronica said. “Boy did I push myself and I felt that sense of joy and achievement, and it all comes back to me now just recalling all this.”

The Park Authority invites you to take part in the 2023 Healthy Strides 5K, 10K and Kids Dash events! This year’s fun run/walk will take place on Saturday, April 29 at Burke Lake Park. A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to the Fairfax County Park Foundation to support Burke Lake Park. We have a place at the starting line for you! Click Here for event details and registration.  All registrations are due by April 25.

The Fairfax County Park Foundation, a 501(c)(3), supports the Fairfax County Park Authority by raising private funds, obtaining grants, and creating partnerships that supplement tax dollars to meet our community’s needs for park land, facilities, and services.
Visit the Park Foundation website or call them at 703-324-8582.