Dr. Tom Woodall began a “Run for Your Life” program in 1966 after unofficially meeting with and coaching a few novice exercisers for several months. The program began with the men (no women at that time) meeting on the outdoor track to run in the morning and at noon.
After several years, some 200 individuals had begun the jogging program. It became a little more organized and official as screenings were completed on the participants, record-keeping was done with participants logging their own workouts, and motivational gimmicks were employed. By 1982, the Human Performance Lab was up and running, a graduate curriculum for exercise science was added, and a cardiac rehabilitation program (METS) at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center was established.
The Adult Fitness Program, as it became known, consisted of Walk, Swim, and Run for Your Life groups. When Dr. Woodall retired, Dr. Jill Owen took over the reins as director of the program. She was promoted to chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Sports Studies in 2007; at that time, Stacey Ruholl took over as director with Mark Kattenbraker and Traci Worby serving as associate directors. A few years later, Chris Ryan became one of the Associate Directors when Traci Worby stepped down.
The program has now grown to over 200 active members and resides in the Student Recreation Center, the indoor/outdoor track, and the Lantz pool. Students pursuing a master's degree in exercise science work with the program participants each semester. Additionally, seven graduate assistants in the KSS Department help with the day-to-day operations.