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Theresa Lou Bowick knows all about diet and exercise.

Now fit and trim, Bowick was once 5-foot-7 and 236 pounds. She eventually lost 75 pounds and kept it off with the help of Weight Watchers, but it was an unusual experience that inspired her to pay it forward and help others get healthy.

Bowick, a registered nurse, was out running one day in her neighborhood near Conkey Avenue in Rochester, New York, when a young boy asked her, “Hey, lady, are you on probation?”

The boy thought Bowick was running from the police. After the run, she was speaking with neighbors when a man walked up and said that rather than being on the run that Bowick must be a cop running through the community, “because nobody exercises in this neighborhood!”

That one encounter persuaded Bowick to develop a fitness group that would help residents get and stay active. She founded the Conkey Cruisers Bicycling-to-Better-Health Voyage with the help of neighbors, local businesses, bicycle experts, community leaders and city officials. The group now has more than 100 members.

As luck would have it, as the Cruisers group was forming, a $2.7 million project to promote hiking and biking in Northeast Rochester was being completed and a stretch of the trail ran along Conkey Avenue.

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