Encinitas walking group still in step after 15 years
Fifteen years ago, three friends started walking regularly along a route in downtown Encinitas to burn calories. Followers soon joined, and Encinitas Walkers was born.
The founders are no longer involved, but the group marches on.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday they meet up. The one-hour trek begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Lumberyard Shopping Center fountain. It then travels to Beacon’s Beach and turns around.
The experience is about more than physical fitness, said walker Geri Beckord.
“It’s the camaraderie of it,” she said. “Before you know it, the walk is over. It goes so fast when you have buddies to walk with.”
She added: “We call ourselves the Walkie-Talkies.”
The friendships run deep. Beckford recalled one walker who had heart problems and wasn’t feeling well. So some in the group cooked him dinner.
During the recent fires that engulfed Carlsbad, walkers called those living in the area to make sure they were OK. When one regular’s daughter died, many in the group comforted the person and paid their respects in various ways.
The group holds regular summer and Christmas parties, so socializing isn’t limited to the pavement.
And it seems once an Encinitas Walker, always an Encinitas Walker. Many who have moved out of North County still keep in touch with the group or walk with them when visiting.
“We still get Christmas cards from one of the founders who resides in Michigan,” Beckord said.
She added: “We were just talking the other day about all the people who have been a part of the group. So many stopped walking for whatever reason, but left an impression.”
There are no charges or dues. And newbies are welcome.
“Just walk about to the fountain and say hi,” Beckord said.
Beckord, who runs encinitaswalkers.org and keeps up with everyone, is the closest thing the group has to a leader.
“I don’t do much,” she said. “It’s self-sustaining; people are drawn to it.”
The group has about 30 regulars, with about a dozen on a given day, she noted. That’s held steady over time.
“It’s the people that keeps them coming back,” Beckord said, adding that the scenery of Encinitas certainly doesn’t hurt.