*This programme was designed for me alone – participant
By Olajide Fashikun, Port Harcourt
Rivers State government will do everything possible to provide whatever support is needed to sustain the Steady Run PH programme. This is unique, well organised and eminently rewarding in terms of fitness, health to every participant. As I speak to you, I am fulfilled” were the words of the Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye.
Iyaye spoke with journalists shortly before the seven kilometre trek organised by the members of the Steady Run PH when they organised a three-day fun-filled activity which included lectures to mark the sixth month existence of their health and fitness group in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Propelled by team effort a crowd of 750 persons gathered at the Airforce base junction in Port Harcourt and did a seven kilometre trek to Oil Mill junction dressed resplendently in Steady Run PH cultured shirts with music blaring both in front and at the back cutting across age class and socio-economic barriers.
This is what we do every Sunday. It has become fun, a tradition and a practice that when you miss you feel so terrible inside of you. This is not just about the gains your body makes but the community of people you meet. This has been one of the biggest blessings in recent times,” said Habbiba Igbafe.
Led by the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, over 200 cars parked at the beginning while the combined efforts of Police, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), and Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corp (NSCDC) provided security cover.
“The quest for community health and fitness eventually led me at the beginning to this. I was doing it alone until some folks voluntarily joined and we started making it formal. This was about six months ago and like a joke we started expanding in geometric population. From age six to retired former senior civil servants. From the very young to the ageing. Here we are today with thanks and praise to God because since we started we have not recorded any form of incident,” Steady Idisi, the initiator told www.gongnews.net
“Every Sunday, we chose different routes to cover. This is to add plenty of fun and variety. Many people work it out from as far as Awka, Enugu, Owerri, Calabar etc to come for this walk. Even now, we are moving to the phase whereby we shall rotate the activity by taking the walk to some of these neighbouring communities. If people will leave like Owerri every Sunday to do this walk, why cant we initiate the same walk in their communities and help activate the same movement,” explained Eugene Abel, a key member of the group.
In her comment, former African sprint record holder, Chief Mary Onyali said, “I wish this was in the city I live. When I arrived, I was overwhelmed with the kind of crowd I saw there. Initially, I thought, many will be called but few will finish. I was shocked to see the camaraderie, gaiety, fun, pleasure and joy with which they started and actually finished. Many more people joined on the way making it such a great thing.”
Ifeoma Akosa, who came from Abuja for the walk said, “this is my first time and I walked the whole seven kilometres! I also doubted I made it. With music in front and at the back of the crowd. The weather so friendly and clement. The sun realising what the Steady Run PH was about to do just respected itself, went down and gave the exercise a wonderful environment.”
Before the entire walk began, members were made to join body loosening exercise for about 10 minutes. Everybody was sweating. The dedication of the members to follow every routine was exemplary. At the end of the walk, the members gathered and did a dance-based aerobics.
On merit, any section of the entire programme is enough for a healthy body but a combination of the entire process is a first class certificate for a body that is not only strong, built and designed for health.
A lady, she simply identified herself as Boma, though from Rivers State but works in Owerri said, “I was forced to miss my trip back to Owerri one weekend and stumbled on this programme in the evening. I joined the crowd and since then I never missed it again. Instead of going to Owerri on Sundays, I prefer to go on Monday mornings because I don’t want to miss this exercise. Today, sincerely speaking, I confess one fact, this programme was designed for me alone.”
Prodded to explain it, she added, “I used to have an particular ailment that had made me a perpetual hook on drug to treat same. When I began this regular exercise and daily I complemented it with aerobics every morning, I found out that the volume of cash I do on the drug is not just reduced but has been saved 100%. My doctor actually stopped me.”
Listening to Enefiok Udo-Obong and Chief Mary Onyali fired me more. Two, I am so happy to have met these sports stars in real life. I will implore our Executives to bring these stars back. As it is, I am so appreciative to God that some persons started this. You can see, I and our three kids go through the routine. Later, my husband on his own joined. It is our family pastime. One of the occasions we missed the activity, our first son, the last in the house protested so much. He has made so many friends.”
Speaking at the end of the activity, sports commissioner Boma Iyaye said, “I never knew this is the good thing Steady and his friends do. The Rivers State government is so proud of them. It is our citizens they are helping to be fit and healthy meaning that we are saving so much on medical bills. Every citizen of the state needs to join this folks. I sincerely personally appreciate them so well.”
Aselemi Uku, the HSSE Manager of Aquashield, an Oil and Marine Service firm based in Port Harcourt said, “what thrilled me most in all of these is the fact that I and my wife could meet Chief Mary Onyali. If not for Steady Run PH would we have had such a free environment to meet a star one had been watching doing our nation so proud? In all, I am so proud of Mr Idisi for this feat he has brought for us, it is for us, because I am so good with my body since I joined this movement.”
At the of the whole process, as much as the crowd were, they were treated to a barbeque. Drinks were served and they were feted. At the end, so many bottles were abandoned untaken.
When we asked for the roll call, it was shocking to realise the nation’s economic movers, political decision makers, future leaders, NYSC corp members, secondary school and even primary school children were in the crowd. Even there were people living with disabilities who started and finished the walk.
Later on Sunday, members of the Steady Run PH will be visiting orphanages in the city to extend their hands of fellowship to the less privileged. This will round up the entire programme of activities. So far, it has been a wonderful success. We could not have asked for more given the kind of intensity everyone involved had invested from the day the concept of these activities were put in place, said Chika Egwuibe, a corp member in the state.