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Friendship a perk of Java Joggers group
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What started off as a morning workout turned into a friendship for two members of the Covington Y.

Loy Turner and Donna McDaniel said they became friends while running with a group called Java Joggers.

Java Joggers was started by Jason Williams, an employee at the Y, in January. The group would meet early on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the Y and then go for a run. That's where Turner and McDaniel said they met each other for the first time.

"We started off as a group of about five or six," Turner said. "Some people in our group, their jobs changed and Jason [had other duties with] the National Guard. So it was just me and Donna who continued on through the summer."

McDaniel said she has been running for about 30 years - running on her lunch breaks at her job, but had gotten lackadaisical about running until she discovered Java Joggers.

"I wasn't doing it as much as I wanted to or I use to. One morning I saw this poster at the Y and it said they ran early in the mornings," McDaniel said. "My husband, [who] passed away a few months ago, was having a lot of health problems and I knew I didn't like to be away from home that much," she said. "I thought that if I joined them, [it] would make me go run more."

The two ladies have been running ever since. They both said they depend on each other to keep going and meeting each other has been a great for their workout.

"She's my accountability partner when it comes to running," Turner said. "I think that's so important because sometimes you have those days that you don't want to go to the gym, you don't want to take that walk or run. It's nice that there is someone waiting on you [and] counting on you to be there for them and vice versa."

McDaniel said when Williams left to fulfill duties with the National Guard, Turner quickly
stepped up as a leader and it has allowed her to get to know Turner better.

"It kind of got down to just the two of us. As we ran, we started talking and I knew I've known her parents and I knew her in-laws through my job I use to work on, but I really didn't get to know her. I have gotten to know her and I'm old enough to be her mother. I have enjoyed running with her. She's just been a delight," McDaniel said.

Turner said she has also enjoyed building a friendship with McDaniel. She said she thinks McDaniel is more of a leader than she is.

"She's an inspiration to me. I'm 37 and she started running when she was my age. She's a mentor and a friend and I really look to her a lot. I don't think about running without thinking about her," Turner said.

Turner said it is important to have a partner or friend while running or doing any exercise, while McDaniel said exercising itself is important because it helps you get through life.
"It keeps you going," Turner said. It's the accountability and the support that you get from working out with somebody. It's like you've got your own cheerleader right beside you because they're trying to accomplish the same thing and you kind of feed off each other."

"The exercise does help you mentally as well as physically," McDaniel said. "Not only did I need that physical exercise after [my husband] died I need that mental exercise too. I think it's just really helped me make the adjustment. Exercise does not take care of any problem but it makes you more able to take care of anything."

Turner said she hopes more people join the Y and become a part of Java Joggers. She said if she did not join, she would have never met McDaniel, which she described as "a good thing."