Fit after 60: Austin 60 Strong reveals faces of 2019 calendar

Miriam Raviv was one of 12 people selected for the Austin 60 Strong calendar. Family photo

Congratulations to a dozen of Central Texas’ most fabulously fit older residents, who will be featured in an upcoming calendar.

Two local physician networks set out to find inspirational residents, ages 60 to 69, to feature in the 2019 Austin 60 Strong calendar. They’ve announced the winners, who include cancer survivors, pole vaulters, a former stuntman, a nurse and more.

A panel of judges – full confession here, I was one of them – selected winners based on their health, fitness, wellness, community involvement and volunteerism. We wanted to highlight people who exemplify that worn-out phrase “living life to the fullest.” We found plenty who inspired us.

Austin 60 Strong judges gather at the Eberly to review and select the Austin 60 Strong Ambassadors for the 2019 Austin 60 Strong Calendar, Wednesday Aug. 29,2018, in AUSTIN, Texas. (GonzoFotoz/Rodolfo Gonzalez)

In addition to appearing in the Austin 60 Strong calendar, winners will be honored with a kickoff party, a professional photo shoot and compensation for their modeling time.

Proceeds from calendar sales will benefit Capital City Village, a virtual community of seniors committed to aging in place and community while maintaining healthy and active lifestyles.

Without further ado, the winners are:

  • Ben Barlin, a cancer survivor, hiker and blackbelt in jiu jitsu.
  • Toni Bourke, a military veteran and nurse who walks daily.
  • Rev. Dave Corna, who lost more than 200 pounds and runs with Austin Fit.
  • Kim Cousins, a former educator who paddles, swims, cycles and more.
  • Shelley Friend, who volunteers with Faithworks and the Iron Butterflies Project and exercises daily.
  • Dan Garrett, who’s been running for nearly 40 years and volunteers as a coach.
  • Mike Gassaway, a former stunt man and motorcycle racer who does yoga and volunteers in dog rescue.
  • Lisa Kurek, a Crossfitter who volunteers at the Austin Center for Grief & Loss.
  • Susan Joiner, a cancer survivor who works out six days a week and follows a whole foods diet.
  • Susan Mobley, who started pole vaulting in her 60s and bakes cookies for local firefighters.
  • Grace Perez, a Meals on Wheels volunteer who walks daily.
  • Miriam Raviv, a longtime triathlete and swimmer, cyclist and runner.

Pedal all the way to Alaska? These students did – for a good cause

This year’s Texas 4000 riders will roll into Anchorage on Friday. Photo courtesy Texas 4000


Sixty-nine University of Texas students who pedaled out of Austin earlier this summer are expected to roll into Anchorage tomorrow, wrapping up their 70-day quest to raise awareness about cancer.

A documentary about their venture, “Texas 4000,” will air at 8 p.m. tonight on the Longhorn Network, Channel 677 on AT&T Universe and Channel 383 on Time Warner. The network will also livestream the documentary at

RELATED: For a fun day on a bike in Austin, try this

Each year for the past 15 years, a team of students has made the bicycle trek. They train, raise money, volunteer in the community and serve in leadership roles to help plan every aspect of the summer ride.

This year’s group started June 1 and broke into three groups, which made their way separately to Alaska. Along the way, the cyclists presented $450,000 in grants to cancer research and treatment centers and visited with patients.

Back in Austin, the community will honor the cyclists at the annual Tribute Gala Aug. 24 at the Hyatt Regency, 208 Barton Springs Road. The gala includes dinner, live music, silent and live auctions and more. Tickets are $200 per person. For more information or to sign up, go to

Since 2004, 751 students have completed the ride, raising more than $8.4 million.

For more information about the 2018 Texas 4000 team, donate or read the riders’ blogs, go to or

Calling all runners – Austin needs your blood

Members of Team Spiridon log a training run. Photo by Rob Hill


Let’s face it. Most runners tend toward the obsessive when it comes to their health. That’s why a local running coach wants them to donate whole blood or platelets during a drive he’s calling Blood Runs Deep.

“It’s as simple as the fact that I believe running can be a huge force for good,” says Rob Hill, community outreach manager at We Are Blood and head of the Team Spiridon running group. “Runners, given their focus on health, understand how critical blood is – not just for performance, but for the community.”

One in seven people will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives, Hill says, and summer is typically a slow time for donations. All blood types are needed.

Linda Wyler of Austin gives blood at the Round Rock donation center in this file photo by MARCIAL GUAJARDO/ROUND ROCK LEADER

Runners are asked to drop by one of three Central Texas locations of We Are Blood, which supplies blood to hospitals and medical facilities in 10 Central Texas counties, between June 21-30 to donate. Two running groups, Gilbert’s Gazelles and Rogue Running, have already vowed to participate.

Concerned that donating blood will put you off your running game? Don’t worry. You could experience an 8 to 10 percent decrease in performance the day after donating, and a slight decrease for a day or two after that, but it won’t last. Just time your donation for after a run and before your rest day, Hill suggests.

Donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh 115 pounds. Some travel restrictions apply, too.

Book an appointment at or call 512-206-1266. You can donate at any of We Are Blood’s three locations – Austin North, 4300 North Lamar Boulevard; Round Rock, 2132 North Mays, Suite 900; or Austin South, 3100 West Slaughter Lane.