Walking group finds sweet reward

Dogs get a treat after walking too as Deb Knopman reaches into her pocket they all gather around for a snack as Fred Kleinberg cleans some muddy feet.

So now the ice is gone, the snow has melted and runners and walkers are back outside, a sure sign of spring.

While many took their exercise routines indoors these past few months, there is one band of hardy folks who braved the elements.

Bone-chilling temperatures, ice and snow? No problem. "We just dressed for it," says Mary Maus, a longtime member of the group.

"Nothing really stops us. We are pretty hardcore," adds Marion Kleinberg, who, with husband Fred, is among those who have been running or walking for close to 30 years.

"It started as neighbors and friends who were runners. When I couldn't run anymore I started walking, knowing that sooner or later there would be others joining me. It didn't take long," she said.


It's an impressive-sized group, with as many as 20 people known to walk together 3-1/2 miles up, down and around the Pill Hill area in southwest Rochester.

In addition to the Kleinbergs, other walkers include Tony Smithson, Al and Ann DeBoer, Terry and Mary Maus, Gesina Keating, Elizabeth Dunn, Gail Eadie, Deb and Dave Knopmnan, Cindy Ullman (an original member who now lives in Toronto but joins when she is in town,) Nancy and Richard Brubaker, Joyce Walker, Carol Reynolds and Jim Gloor (who have hiked the Appalchian Trail), and Bridget Biggs. Dogs on leashes and toddlers in strollers are also included.

As one might expect this is not a quiet group.

"There is always a lively discussion going on, especially if we get into politics," said Ann DeBoer. Not everyone comes every day and the weather can also be a factor for some, though there are those who pay no attention to it. No matter if just two show up — they still walk.

Every weekday, walkers meet at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Ninth Street Southwest and start at exactly at 6 a.m., not a minute sooner.

Fred Kleinberg is the official starter, using the atomic clock from Fort Collins, Colo., as his guide. Latecomers are on their own.

The Saturday start time is 7 a.m. Sundays are a day of rest.

Once they have done their walk, everyone goes their own way — to home, work, or elsewhere.


Except on Saturdays. That is when they gather at the Kleinbergs for a breakfast of Marion's famous sticky buns.

"This began about 10 years ago, sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing, but it has turned into a Saturday tradition, our reward for getting up early and walking," she said. "We all really look forward to it."

She will have been up baking since 4 a.m. While her sticky buns are a draw, so, too, are her crumb cakes as well as muffins and scones brought by others.

The coffee tops it all off. Fred Kleinberg is the official coffee maker, roasting and grinding his own coffee beans.

"This turns into one big Saturday morning Kaffee Klatch," Ann DeBoer said.

Post-Bulletin food writer Holly Ebel knows what's cookin'. Send comments and story ideas to her at

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