Racing For All The Right Reasons

John and Judy Holland set their goals on the Bridge Day 5K RUN

Active SWV Signature Events are designed to encourage the first time racer while challenging seasoned runners. In 2023, John and Judy set their sites on race events to be goals throughout the year to keep them motivated to stay active. They started with the Run the Summit 5K, 10K, Half in April, then the New River Gorge Rim to Rim Race, and now they prepare for the Bridge Day 5K RUN in October.

"For me, it's all about the next goal. I need to have something on the calendar and a goal that presents a challenge. I encourage others to set those short term goals to stay on track," shares Judy.

Getting to know Mr. and Mrs. Holland

John was born in Gauley Bridge while Judy was born across the river in Montgomery. They attended Falls View Grade School together but went their separate ways after high school. Judy Stayed in Fayette County while John lived in different states for several years before they reconnected. Slowly but surely they made their way back to Fayette County in 2020 to be closer to family. 

Both grew up with a lifestyle of staying active; John played all the organized sports he could get to such as basketball, baseball, volleyball, and running track. Judy enjoyed more solitude activities such as horseback riding and exploring wooded paths. In their first marriages, each stayed busy raising their children and keeping them in organized sports, scouts and other endeavers. For a few years, Judy coached her daughter’s basketball team and high school track team, Gauley Bridge High School, mainly because there was no other coach and her daughter really wanted to compete. 

"The little ways of having fun make a big difference. There are plenty of times in life where you can't smile and have fun; make the most of the happy times," encourages John.

Their reasons for racing

In 2018 Judy learned her first grandchild was on the way! This motivated the new grandparents to increase their fitness levels to be able to keep up with a bouncing grandson. They started going to the gym and seeing a personal trainer. Then it was Judy’s idea to sign up for the Active SWV Run the Summit 5K Race. She saw an option to walk the race and she was in! 

Judy had 3 surgeries in 2020, over a 5-month period, replacing 3 joints, both knees and one hip. “I am constantly wanting to prove that it was all worthwhile by using them as much as possible,” she shares.

They began to see the benefits early on. John noticed his stamina while doing yard work improved with increased gym attendance. Taking walks around Fayette County was contributing to their increased fitness, too. Next, it was time to try some local beginner race events. And they were off . . . 

"It is easy to get relaxed and sedentary. When you feel like making excuses, don't listen to yourself. Make yourself get up and go because you will feel those good endorphins and be glad you did. I like to prove to myself that I can do it. I am proud of my efforts. We drive across the New River Gorge Bridge and I look out and say, "I climbed that gorge!" Judy Holland.

Signature Events: Active SWV Races

Active Southern West Virginia Signature Events bring quality fundraising events to southern West Virginia. These fee based races raise funds for the free programs of Active SWV while providing more opportunity for family friendly and beginner racers. Each Signature Event has its own page to learn more. You can also find out more about volunteering for events and ways to give here.