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Love on the Run

Maren MacIntyre

a former middle school guidance counselor, Curt Grimm knows a thing or two about how to motivate people.

 It seems his wife Cindy does, too.

 More than three decades ago, as the newlyweds watched the 1976 summer Olympics on television, Cindy proposed that they take up running to stay in shape.

A few years later, in 1983, the Grimms qualified for their first Boston Marathon.

Since then, pre-retired member Curt and Cindy, a retired nurse, have completed the race five more times. Because it took the Grimms six years to qualify for their first Boston Marathon, they decided that they would compete in the marathon every six years (with one exception in 1996). “We just make it a part of our life and, so far, it’s been a lot of fun,” says Curt.

Aside from the Boston Marathon, this quick-footed husband and wife team has successfully competed in the Senior Olympics, placing several times. Fittingly, the Grimms not only take home trophies, they also make them for local contests at their business, Tri-State Trophies.

Curt says he has always enjoyed a lot of support from his students, many of whom have registered in races to compete against him. “I think it motivates them and it makes them interested in the sport.

But, mostly, it shows them that you can stay active as long as you take care of yourself, and you can enjoy your hobbies way into your later years,” he says. The Grimms’ son, Eric, also supports his parents and plans to race alongside them in their seventh Boston Marathon appearance.

One of their long-term post-retirement goals is to run across the United States, although they haven’t yet figured out exactly how they will do it. In the meantime, their busy racing schedules include 40 races this year.


To Do Today: Save Lives

All those years planning field trips for fifth-graders are coming in handy for former elementary teacher Barbara Groner.

Over the last decade, Groner has used those organizational skills to help mobilize more than 700 U.S. and Canadian members of Rotary International who are all fighting to eradicate polio.

She has arranged and gone on seven trips each to Africa and India, where she and her colleagues immunized children against diseases. 

After 30 years of public service as a teacher in the Cassopolis Public School District in Michigan, Groner was determined to spend her retirement doing even more good works in her community.

She has immersed herself in various causes since she began volunteering at her local Rotary club, but most of her efforts are spent fighting polio, a historically devastating contagious disease that is now endemic in only four countries in the world.

But even her careful planning could not have prepared Groner for some of the adventures these trips have brought—and that includes sleeping on a rooftop in Segue, Mali, and bunking in a makeshift dormitory in a maternity hospital supply room. Every such experience, no matter how exhausting or frightening, has “enriched my life,” says Groner.

“It makes you realize how fortunate we are,” she says. “Every time I go back to the U.S. it makes me appreciate America all over again.”

                                     —Svetlana Shkolnikova

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