Northwest Indiana's first marathon launches from Freedom Park on April 27, 2014. Taking place entirely over scenic country roads, the Crossroads Marathon passes by Cedar Lake, Lake Dale, and at least one camouflaged bigfoot. The course is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and is open to everyone—walkers included—as long as they can sustain a 15-minute mile pace.
Motivating, highly trained staff and spacious facilities complement Charter Fitness's battalion of cardio machines and strength-training equipment. Huge flat-screen TVs motivate gym-goers as they lift weights, stationary bikes, and their reflections in large mirrors. Seasoned personal trainers who all hold certifications or four-year degrees in their specialty guide members through an initial personal-training session, introducing clients to the best equipment for their fitness goals. After workouts, private showers or public water fountains sluice away sweat.
Patti Komara, commandant of Patti’s All-American for 42 years, leads a team of friendly, highly skilled trainers in conducting gymnastics and dance classes for teens and younger tots. The Tumblebear Gym program (walking toddler–age 6) draws in dinosaurs, Hollywood, and outer-space themes to keep youngsters engaged in the graceful, athletic movements of tumbling. Gymnasts old enough for school-age gymnastics classes (age 6–18) learn and practice more complicated skills on the spring floor, the uneven bars, the in-ground trampoline, and more.
A shotgun blast signals the start of the race, and the runners tear off through the woods. All the while, the sounds of growls and moans behind them grow closer. Though held in broad daylight, The Running Dead presents its participants with a chilling challenge: if you're a runner, make it to the finish line in one piece, and if you're a zombie, track down your prey. Regardless of affiliation, the 5K challenges all its guests with a series of man-made and natural obstacles.
Throughout the course, runners are encouraged to work as a team. At the end, those who survive are rewarded with a beer or soft drink and a truce with the zombies. After the race, all are welcome to the Zombie Prom after-party: a horror-centric celebration featuring vegan and carnivore-friendly food, an awards ceremony for the most convincing zombie getups, and a chance to argue with a local principal that the undead shouldn't have to do homework. A DJ drops beats throughout the event, while two local cover bands and a headliner provide a live soundtrack.
The only full-service women-only gym in Highland, Womens Core Fitness Center is a supportive, laid-back environment that welcomes all women to come and work up a sweat. There are multiple cardio and strength-training machines, and clients can work out individually or in small-group fitness classes. Certified instructors lead more than 25 classes per week, ranging from Zumba to INSANITY and Turbo Kick. Personal training and childcare are available as well.