Eco Gym’s First Ever Indoor 5K

At Eco Gym in Naperville a 5K is not equal to a 3.1-mile race. It’s equal to five kilowatts of energy.

About 80 residents and gym members came out to the first ever Energy Drive to run, walk, or jog up some power. Literally. The health club is fueled by a combination of solar and human energy. For one day participants helped “fuel” people in need.

All proceeds from the indoor 5k will benefit Blessings in a Backpack. The national non-profit helps feed the more than 12 million school aged children on free or reduced meal plans.

Phil Goforth, a fitness counselor at Eco Gym, ran for the cause. “Their whole slogan is ‘Power of 80.’ So $80 feeds a kid for 38 weekends so we are trying to create as much energy as we can.”

Among the runners were Adam Parks and Ramona Ustian, two people behind the cause.

“Every Friday these students get a backpack full of food that they take home and they’re able to have something to eat over the weekend,” said Ustian. “And on Monday they bring their backpack back, and their bellies are full and they’re ready to learn.”

Ustian says the Energy Drive event will help feed about 58,000 students while at the same time using clean energy to power Eco Gym’s facility.

“That energy grid will then transfer it into a contraption that we have on the wall here that will actually disperse throughout our facility,” said Eco Gym’s General Manager, Sonny Benso. “So, the quicker you go the faster you run, the more energy that will be produced.”

Many of the runners gave it all they’ve got, but were not prepared for extra resistance and effort it took to power these treadmill. Most treadmills use motors to power their belts, but at Eco Gym’s are powered by the people.

Whether they came out to raise money or to just get in a good run, everyone seemed to have a purpose.

“I’m in the energy business myself but it’s the dirty energy so I know what our current energy grid puts out in terms of carbon footprint and emissions,” commented gym member, Marc Hunter.

Ryan McGovern was persuaded to come out by his personal trainer. “I live in the community so anything I can do to help out, I’m more than happy to do it, just pray for me,” he laughed.

After helping create alternative clean energy, runners had the chance to experience alternative medicine with Acupuncture INC.

Tom Betts serves as an acupuncturist at “INC.” He and his coworker, Brian volunteered their time for the Saturday morning event. “We are building some blood and moving some blood and building some energy and moving some energy so it’s a great recovery,” he said.

“It’s really great, it’s relaxing. You barely feel it going in and you get to relax for 15 minutes and feel great after,” said runner Stephanie Jordan after just stepping off the treadmill.

At the halfway mark, runners had created more than 2,000 watts of energy, enough to burn a light bulb for up to 90-hours.


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