Hollis Buffkins looks back on the photo of herself, bundled up and ready to run during her first race five years ago.

That day in 2013, the Omaha woman knew running was for her. Since then, she’s tackled three half-marathons and has plans for her fourth in the spring.

Buffkins, 51, is a member of two local running clubs. Through those clubs, she’s found friends who encourage her and hold her accountable.

On Dec. 9, Buffkins and her running buddies participated in the Omaha Running Club’s Holiday Lights Fun Run. Runners sported headlamps and plenty of layers. Along their route, they took in the lights and decor in downtown Omaha and the Gene Leahy Mall.

Q: When did you start working out and why?

A: Most of my life I’ve been active. But I’ve been seriously running since 2013. I did a run and was like, “Oh, this is what I want to do.”

Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?

A: Right now, I’m part of the Omaha Running Club and the Step Into Running program. I’m also in OMNE Run Club, and we do track workouts. Most of us meet up two or three times a week.

Q: What is your current fitness goal?

A: My fitness goal is everyone’s goal: to lose weight. But mostly, I want to be healthy. That’s the big thing. At my age, I’m not going to go too crazy. I want to be healthy and live my best physical life.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?

A: Being able to run a half-marathon. I ran my first half in 2015 at the Lincoln Marathon.

Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?

A: The toughest hurdle is time. I used to work out in the mornings when I went to the gym. But since I don’t go there anymore, 5 a.m. is not happy for me. I like to run in the evenings, but right now it’s dark at 5 and I’m not running in the dark by myself.

Q: What helps you stay on track?

A: My friends. If I don’t show up or if they know I haven’t worked out, I hear about it. We all coach each other. Right now, we’ve all joined the same gym so we can work out together once or twice a week.

Q: What is your gym pet peeve?

A: I don’t really have a lot of gym pet peeves. I do my thing and leave. But I don’t like when people hog equipment or just sit there, hanging out.

Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?

A: Most of the time, I’m at church or playing with my dog. That and spending time with my daughter and granddaughter.

Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?

A: My headphones. If there’s no music, there is just no run. Even when I’m running with people, I have one earbud in and can still talk.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?

A: Don’t quit. It’s going to be hard in the beginning. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

Kelsey covers health and fitness for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @kels2. Phone: 402-444-3100.

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