EVERYDAY HEROES: Knights push fitness with running group

Sep. 13—Joe Knight and his wife, Joy, started a running group in Tahlequah to help others get into fitness.

The Knights have always been into living healthy, but after falling off track with being active for a short period, they started "Quah Couch to 5K" to get themselves and others in the community into running.

"We've been a part of running groups in the past, and so I wanted to do something that would incorporate what we needed with what the community needs as well," Joe said.

The group helps others learn and train to run or walk a 5K without stopping.

"I've done [running groups] before, and I always feel like it provides good accountability for myself and everyone else because you know people are hoping you'll be there or expecting you'll be there," Joe said.

Since July 31, the group has been meeting every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 7 p.m. at Tahlequatics.

Joe said about seven from the group participated in a holiday 5K, with five of them being first-time runners.

"I think it's great because I actually didn't run my first 5K until I was in my 30s," Joe said. "I was never a runner. I'm still not a runner, but I was able to do it when I was with a group people who were interested in the same thing."

Joe said he has always wanted to help people reach this goal, especially those who might not have thought they could complete the run, as he just enjoys making a difference in people's lives.

"Like I said, I'm not a runner, but I really enjoy being around people who are just trying to be better — not necessarily great athletes or anything, but people who just want to do better and need some inspiration," Joe said.

Joe has also been active in Tahlequah in several different ways, including teaching free fitness classes in the past, taking part in other local running groups, establishing the What To Do In Tahlequah Facebook page with Joy, teaching at Tahlequah High School, hosting weight loss challenges, and being a past member of the Tahlequah Main Street Board.

Joe said he and his family moved to the area in 2011, and started the What To Do In Tahlequah Facebook page because they never knew what was going on in the city from one day to the next.

After monitoring the page for a short period, Joe said, he started seeing people post several ways he could get involved with the community.

"I'll probably always be that way. It's physically healthy, but also mentally healthy to be around people who are active, healthy, and fit, so I just do it more because it helps me feel better, and it helps people along the way. It's kind of like [killing] two birds with one stone," Joe said.