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[bitsontherun udblK23o]

One evening a week, they gather in the parking lot of the Lee County Jail.

“It’s the Lee County Sheriff’s Department Running Club,” said Deputy Casey Bruce.

After some stretching, the sheriff leads the run. This gathering of road warriors began several years ago.

“We were training together as the SWAT team, cause they train 12 hours a month and there were a lot of people that were interested that may not could make the SWAT team for whatever reason and we had a lot of wives and females here at work that wanted some sort of exercise program,” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.

On this outing, they let me join in.

”We do all different type things that the sheriff’s department would do , in tactical situations much like our SWAT team, even though you’re not on it so you will get a little taste of it,” Sheriff Johnson said.

From time to time the sheriff throws in challenges, such as tackling the stairs at First Baptist.

Participants say the camaraderie and exercise keeps them coming back for more.

“Just to stay in shape, it helps you throughout the day , to keep your lungs built up, you never know when you might have to run after somebody. Helps stay in shape. “ Y’all have to run after bad guys sometimes, right? “Sometimes,” said Deputy Casey Bruce.

“It just brings the department together, a lot of guys you get to work with, on different shifts, we don’t get to spend time together, brings us together as a group, we get to bond and cheer each other on,” said Corporal Dustin Tutor.

“I like being able to come out and run with my parents, it’s a lot of fun and it gets me in shape,” said Alex Reddick.

“I just really enjoy doing this, enjoy spending time with these people and being able to run and get in shape.” This is a good group of folks to run with, right, because you’re pretty safe running with the Sheriff’s Running Club, right? “Yessir I feel very safe,” said Brittany Harris.

They tell me you stay out front, you set the pace is that right? “They’re probably scared to pass me but I try to encourage them. The whole thing is to see progress as we go, you’ve got a lot of them that set a pace, if you set a pace that’s faster than theirs, they have something to achieve,” said Sheriff Johnson.

When you are running, does the sheriff always win? “He does. “ Now, do you all let him stay out front, or does he because he can? “No I think he can, I think he runs when we’re not looking, he is definitely in shape,” said Deputy Kerry Reddick.

This run covered nearly 3 and a half miles in about 35 minutes ,ending at the Bancorpsouth arena with a set of pushups. Then it’s a cool down walk back to the Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Running Club meets every week either on Tuesdays or Thursdays, it is not an exclusive club. The public is invited to come out, get some exercise and get to know those who protect Lee County everyday.

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