Did you know that the big bronze woman with the sword in Monument Square is called Our Lady of Victories, also Soldiers and Sailors Monument? Or that the sculptor, a man born in Webster in the 19th century named Franklin Simmons, also has a statue of Ulysses S. Grant in the United States Capitol Rotunda? How would you like to learn tidbits like these about the Square and other areas in and around the Old Port, all while feeling the burn of a full-body strength and cardio workout?
The unusual combination is the brainchild of fitness instructor Leigh Rush Olson, the founder of Old Port Historic Workout and its sister, Kennebunk Beach Historic Workout. Olson got the idea in 1997 in New York City as a way to combine her history education with her training experience, and would lead groups of curious athletes in mobile workouts while telling them about the city’s ethnohistory. The Maine versions are in their first year.
Old Port Historic Workouts take place on Saturdays at 10 a.m., meeting in Monument Square, where participants will be led in ninety minutes of exercise, followed by a jogging tour with stops at Portland’s most intriguing sites, with anecdotes about each. Tickets are $30 at http://www.ticketweb.com/ and all levels of expertise are welcome.
Kennebunk Beach Historic Workouts are Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m., to convene at Mothers Beach. This one’s a little easier on the pocketbook, at $10 per person. Olson and her staff remind you to bring your own mat (or towel) and water bottle. She also says she engineered the double meaning in the titles of her events on purpose, and looks forward to helping you achieve a truly ‘historic workout.’