By: By Corrie Pelc
An avid runner all her life, Grace Ward dreamed of creating a running community for the Lake Cities area. That dream became reality in January 2021 when she retired from her job at Southwest Airlines and organized the Lake Cities Run Walk Group. 

“It all came together just (as) smooth as can be,” Ward said. “In the first week we had 100 members, and within the first year, we had 1,000.”

Each week, Ward updates the group on Facebook with a schedule of that week’s running and walking meetups in Corinth, Hickory Creek, Shady Shores and Lake Dallas. Meetups are held at various times and locations, providing ample opportunities for everyone to join and run or walk with others. “And if it’s not on the meetup list, then people do shout outs (during the week) where they’ll just say, ‘Hey, I feel like going out. Who wants to go with me?’” Ward said. 

The group is free and open to anyone, even those who do not live in the Lake Cities. The organization has a mix of different levels, from elite runners to those working on walking or running their first 5K.

“It’s so inspiring when you see someone who is not necessarily comfortable with going outside and just going for a walk … and then you see them run their first 5k,” Ward said. “Runners are extremely supportive of each other; it’s a very good, loving, caring community to be in.”

Members of the Lake Cities Run Walk Group participate in local races together. Ward also organizes a members-only free race each May. Runners receive a race bib — their entry to the race — by attending a group meetup.

Ward encourages anyone interested in getting active to join the group, make time to connect with others, and just get out and play. “Our day is so filled with chores, to-dos, tasks and just stress,” she said. “It’s such a joy to your soul to get out and connect with other people and see the world we live in. It’s just beautiful.” 

For more information, see Facebook