A Morning Walk at the Mall
It’s another cold, wet, and snowy January day. I would like to go for a nice walk outside but the weather conditions are not to my liking. What can I do? I do not want to work out on a treadmill.
There's only one place I can think of that's big enough to walk a pretty good distance in just one lap. It's all under one roof and it's open to the public. The Millcreek Mall. I arrive before the stores are officially open. The concourse lights are still dim. And what do I see? Dozens of people are already doing their laps. The mall welcomes people to come as early as 7 a.m. to walk.
"We always like to be part of the community that we do business in. That's one way we can help out in the community is to allow them to come in in a climate controlled environment and get their steps in,” says Karrie George, the mall’s marketing director.
I'm no spring chicken but there's some regular mall walkers who are in their 80s and 90s. Ken Fosco is 95 years old.
"There's always something going on at the mall," he says. "And there's always somebody else new that comes up here. So there's never a dull moment."
Ted Lish will be 97 in a couple of weeks. He says walking at the mall keeps him looking great and feeling great.
"Well, the other thing is I never drank or smoked,” he says.
Miyoko Lafferty will be 82 in a few days. Like Ken and Ted, she's here practically every day.
"I have all kinds of problems. The back. The knees. So I keep going every day,” she said. Miyoko says it's not just the value of the exercise that keeps her coming back. "A lot of friendly people,” she says.
Marnie Brown is one of those people. She says mall walkers get to know each other, especially the walkers who show up every day.
"We nickname them," Marnie says. "Like we have Zig Zag Dave. Different names for people. And the great thing is that when you aren't here one day, the next day you come people will see you and say. 'Where were you yesterday? We missed you.' It's like a family," she says.
One lap around the mall is 1.2 miles. Most walkers I met today did at least two laps. Then it was time for some of them to take a seat and continue to socialize.
"We have coffee together and talk over old times,” says Ted.
The Millcreek Mall began welcoming walkers in 2008. Anyone interested in becoming a mall walker is asked to register at the mall office. You will be issued an ID card and lanyard that will be needed for morning walks. There are currently 7,000 people who are signed up to walk.