For Angie and Eddie Holmes, staying active is just a way of life.
She is president of the Gulf Coast Running Club, and he is president of the Gulf Coast Bicycle Club.
Both educators, they also were involved in sports programs at their schools. And though physical activity is second nature for them, they say anyone can incorporate being active into their lives.
“I taught for 35 years, in Biloxi and then Long Beach,” Angie said.
“And I taught at Harper McCaughan Elementary,” Eddie said. “I retired from there after 32 years” and was principal of the school after retiring in 2010. Angie retired in 2011.
“I enjoyed teaching physical education,” Angie said. “We didn’t have a high school soccer team on the Coast at the time, so (Eddie) started a boys team, and I started a girls team.”
Both the Holmeses came into their roles gradually.
“I didn’t intend to be” president of the running club, Angie said. “I’d go to the runs and help at the races.” When the previous president could no longer dedicate the time, Angie agreed to be president. “Basically I register people, coordinate volunteers and promote the races.”
Similarly, Eddie “started going to races and seeing they needed help. So I was helping and suddenly I was in charge. I’ve really been enjoying it.”
Both encourage participation in the clubs’ activities.
“Most of our bicycle rides are not races,” Eddie said. “It’s an event.”
“I try to get friends involved,” Angie said. “You can just go at your own pace. We have races, but you don’t have to feel like you have to be competitive.”
And that leads to what both Holmeses say is the ultimate benefit of activity.
“I want to stay fit,” said Angie, who does an exercise program three days a week and runs. “I do it because I enjoy doing it and try to stay healthy.”
“Find something you like, and you’ll stick with it,” Eddie said. “I work with the Senior Olympics in Jackson, the cycling part. This year, we have people from anywhere between 50 and 84 years old. They offer cycling, running, ping pong, badminton.”
He cycles 100 to 200 miles, two to three times a week, and hopes to get back into running.
“You don’t have to be in a competition,” Angie said. “Just get out 30 minutes a day. Instead of sitting and groaning and complaining, just do something. I had to get out of my comfort zone. It helps to get out and meet people.”
Eddie has big plans coming up.
“I’m hoping to do the Iron Man Chattanooga in September,” he said. He has done six Ironman events — five of them the 70.3-mile (half-distance) races and one the full 140.6 Ironman race.
As for Angie, she has twice cycled the Natchez Trace with friends, in 2012 and 2016. They took seven days, at 50 miles a day, to enjoy the scenic trail.
They also help other cyclists through the Warm Showers organization, a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists, by serving as hosts.