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Marlene Vierra

Marlene Vierra celebrated 20 years with clients at a gathering Saturday morning. (Click photo for larger image.)

Leading a high-energy exercise class wasn’t the most challenging part of Saturday morning for Marlene Vierra. That came afterwards, as dozens of  Get Fit Fitness Center staff members and clients gathered to celebrate the business and its owner. After 20 years,Vierra is closing the gym on Cantova Way May 1.  “I’ve enjoyed each and every one of you,” she told the group. “It’s a privilege to be in your lives ... This has been a fantastic journey. ... This is not goodbye.”

Vierra thanked staffers and presented them with bouquets, sharing a tearful embrace with long-time instructor Kerri Schultz, who recalled the help and support she received in her successful fight against leukemia. “It extends so beyond these four walls,” Schultz said.

Clients agreed, describing Get Fit as a community and “my gym family.”

At Vierra’s request, people shared their experiences at the gym.  One woman said simply, “I owe my health to you.” Another told of recovering from a back injury and going on to run a 5K race. “I couldn’t believe how many people were inspired by me through you,” she told Vierra.

Some members said they don’t know what they will do without the structure and support of Get Fit. Vierra responded they will keep on going because “you know health and fitness can add so much quality to your life. ... You’ll be fine. Change is good.”

When asked, Vierra said she has no plans other than “to sit on a beach with a drink with an umbrella.” She’s not sure what she’s going to do next, but she’s not moving from Rancho Murieta. She’ll undoubtedly be with Norm Bowden, who was introduced at the celebration as the love of her life.  The two met after Bowden was diagnosed with lung cancer. “She was my angel and now she’ll be his,” Schultz said.

Marlene group

The party crowd poses for a photo. (Click photo for larger image.)

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