Mike Mason loves his family.
He loves them so much that he’s working hard to help them break from a family tradition — inactivity, obesity and early death.
Mason led by example dropping 80 pounds off his 5-foot frame. He once tipped the scales at 247 pounds.
It dawned on him where he was headed after a number of relatives died fairly young. He decided it was time for him to get moving.
After he started to lose weight he talked with a younger brother who was 5-foot-9, 568 pounds at the time.
“He couldn’t even fit in a chair,” Mason told Manteca Rotarians during their luncheon meeting last week at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room.
Mason got his brother to start exercising — walking and then running. So far his sibling has lost 380 pounds.
The Manteca resident who works as a transportation manager for Nestle is helping roll out the Ripon-Manteca Moves Training team next month. It is an off-shoot of Modesto Moves.
The mission of the group is simple: Pursue health and wellness with a team support structure that includes coaching and mentoring. The focus is on self-improvement and a healthy lifestyle through education and wellness activities done in a safe manner.
The primary activity the group uses is based on simply moving by either running or walking.
The Ripon Manteca Moves effort is focused on preparing members for Rina’s Run in Ripon in May. The event that features a half marathon and 5K is open to runners and walkers alike.
It entails an 18-week training program that starts in January. A monthly training calendar is provided. Two group workouts are planned each week that encompass short educational seminars. The $80 membership includes a Training Tech shirt.
Volunteer certified coaches are used to supervisor training on multiple levels from walking to running and from beginning to experienced. Mentors are added to the mix to allow a 5 to 1 participant to mentor/coach ratio.
The educational seminars will touch on injury prevention, hydration, nutrition, shoe fitting, foot and blister care, as well as walking and running safety.
The Saturday training sessions start at 7:15 a.m. in Manteca with participants gathering in a parking lot along Spreckels Avenue. After a short seminar, group training takes place using the Tidewater Bike Path.
The Thursday training sessions start at 6:15 p.m. at the Ripon High track. Mason said arrangements have been made to turn on the stadium lights during the winter months.
The Modesto Moves effort had 293 members prior to expanding into Ripon and Manteca. Organizers are projecting the effort will be 410 strong by January.
Mason noted 85 percent of the group’s members are women.
The group is preparing to takeover Rina’s Run in 2018 with a name change to Ripon’s Run. One of the organization’s goals is to give back to the community through charities.
The group also has been lining up sponsors to help underwrite scholarships for those that want to participate in the training but can’t afford the $80 membership.
Current sponsors are Doctors Hospital of Manteca, Doctors Medical Center, and Surgical Artistry.
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