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Enjoying life on the run Richard Peña | Sat, Jun 22 2013 12:00 PM

It has been sometime since I have written one of those “such interesting people” type columns.  I, therefore, would be utterly remiss if I passed up this opportunity that is staring me in the face.

I spent a pleasant part of a morning one day last week just talking and reminiscing with Julie Phair.  Ms. Phair is part of that generation known as the Baby Boomers.  I have known her for many, many years.  She is one of those rarities of any generation, a born and bred South County native who still lives in the area.  She went to local schools, Rosebank, the two Hilltop secondary schools and then California Lutheran College.  She married Jeff, another local individual, and they have operated a business, The Phair Company a property development business for more than 20 years.

The Phairs had three boys and they almost immediately—like many other parents—saw that they were going to have to pattern their lives in an optimum manner that would principally aid them in raising their family.  And Julie found very quickly that a concentration on outdoor activities would be the answer.

When your boys want to take up running activities as part of their high school curriculum then you put in to be a volunteer coach.  And that is what the adult Phairs did as the boys were in high school.

It is felt that being a volunteer at the high school was simply a continuation of something Julie has loved all her life. That, of course, is to run.  In her years at Hilltop High School back in the 70s she was a CIF finalist and then continued her running activities at Cal Lutheran where she was the women’s team Most Valuable Player
After college Phair said she missed all the activity of running and those events related to it.  So she and her husband, Jeff, competed in more than 100 running events. This covered the gamut from 5K events to marathons and triathlons. They not only competed in such events but aimed summer outings and vacations with the three boys that included hiking, biking and cross-country activities— all this under the name of recreation.

Julie realized that certain muscles and other bodily components would not last forever.  So in her latter years she has added snow shoe workouts to her regimen.  She finds that it is not only fulfilling a void that middle age brings about but it is something that is relaxing in the solitude of being away from the maddening crowd, so to speak.
Husband Jeff, who by the way, is her principal encourager has, rather prematurely, dubbed her the Snowshoe  Queen.  She won the snow shoe race at Big Bear Mountain but that is only a portion of the rigors to which she will be subjected.  The next leg on this event that is called a quadrathlon will be a 12-mile kayak race. This is a rather difficult event and she hopes to finish in the top 20.  She thinks that with such a finish she would still have enough points to be considered as conquering the bear.  There are a couple of other events in the summer months but, for the present her concentration will be on kayaking.

The interesting portion of Julie Phair’s avocation is that she has, for practical purposes been doing it all her life. We learn to run as kids but somewhere along the line many of us opt for that sedentary life.  ’Tis a pity it is true, but it happens.

Fortunately, we have among us individuals like Julie who, with an encouraging family, is on her way to becoming a champion. And that, in my opinion,  is what makes her an interesting person.

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