• adriennewfawcett

Running an Empty Gym

Mark Montgomery had clocked just one week in his new job as fitness and aquatics manager for the Lake Bluff Park District when everyone was sent home to shelter in place.


The good news is that he’s in good health and holding up well. He can’t visit his parents, which is a bummer, and he would really love to get back to work at the Rec Center (and I would really love to get back to yoga classes there!) In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to ask him some questions and share the answers on LakeBluffStrong.

Adrienne: Why did you want to work at Lake Bluff Rec Center, and where did you come from, ie what was your last job?

Mark: I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the Lake Bluff Park District. I saw the position as a great opportunity to work in the recreation field, applying my knowledge and experience in running fitness centers. This position gives me the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment.

I am a graduate of Illinois State University in Recreation Management. I have several years of experience running fitness centers. In my last position I worked for Charter Fitness overseeing multiple facilities.

Adrienne: Other than your new job, do you have other connections to Lake Bluff or the North Shore?

Mark: I was born in Highland Park Hospital, but I grew up in Champaign, Illinois.

Adrienne: What is it like starting a new job and then getting word a week later that the rec center is going to be empty for an indefinite period of time because no one can leave home?

Mark: For many of us COVID-19 has put our jobs on hold; no one envisioned that to contain the virus we would need to stay at home, and practice social distancing. It is so unnatural in our society. I am lucky that no friends or family have contracted the disease.

Adrienne: How do you stay fit — mentally and physically — while being confined to your home?

Mark: The way I cope is to get outdoors every day. I go for a walk or jog. I recently bought a set of weights, and a stationary bike, so that I can stay active. If I am in public, I wear a face-mask to protect myself. I have not visited my parents in Champaign, IL since the outbreak, because I would not want to expose them if I had coronavirus, without any symptoms.

Adrienne: What do you do for fun and/or have any hobbies?

Mark: For fun I am a sports enthusiast. For me, this spring is hard without sports. I love March Madness, and the NBA playoffs. I am hopeful there will be an NFL season in the fall. My favorite team is the Bears. I look forward to the season all year long. I also enjoy playing sports. I like weight lifting, swimming, basketball, and recently played pickleball; when members at a gym needed a 4th player- it was so much fun. Other activities I enjoy include fantasy football, poker, and Texas-hold-em.

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