Holly Guthrie owns and operates Hollywould Fitness, which holds a bootcamp in Overton Park three days a week.
I’ve lived near Overton Park for close to 20 years, 13 years now in the Evergreen Historic Neighborhood. Like so many, Overton Park is my sanctuary. I can’t imagine living in Memphis without having this park as my “go to” place. As a runner, I visit the park any chance I get. I love seeing other runners like me year after year on their routine runs, which makes me feel old and young. I’ve run in numerous 5ks held at the park over the years as well as Zoom through the Zoo and my proudest moment, running through Overton Park during my first St. Jude Marathon. I love my memories of spreading a blanket in the spring, building snowmen in the winter, and being invited to the annual Christmas Adam Party every year at the Club House.
In fact, I fell so in love with Overton Park that I began my bootcamp classes at Veterans Plaza back in 2009. Going strong today, I lead a sunrise bootcamp class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday all year round. As a fitness instructor, I have been blessed with meeting the best group of Midtowners (and some East Memphis folks too) that come to my workout. Our group comes to stay fit and for the camaraderie, but most of all because it is their sanctuary too…and what better way to start the day?
Our group could share so many stories throughout these past four years… We’ve been at Veterans Plaza when there was ice on the ground, in the middle of summer when the morning temperature begins at 80 degrees and when the fog has been so thick you can’t see the tree line behind Rainbow Lake. We’ve seen sunrises that will take your breath away and listened to the birds that fill the air. We even had an escaped flamingo greet us one morning. I recently added a minute of meditation to our workout for us to pause and take in the serenity the park offers.
Two of our members were married last year in the formal gardens by a minister who also attends our workout. On Memorial Day, we say the pledge of allegiance to the flag at the north end of Veterans Plaza and take a moment to remember all the veterans listed on the surrounding memorials. I walked my parents around Veterans Plaza last year and watched my dad, a Korean War veteran, as he admired and intently read the map of the two countries on the Korean War memorial.
Our workout group was there before the Overton Park Conservancy group began its mission and we’ve cherished every little improvement this group has done for our park. We are collecting money to sponsor the conservancy group and are planning quarterly trash pickup days over the next few seasons. I believe the best thing about the park is that it’s open to everyone. All are welcome. What a beautiful gift from our city. I know where I’ll be every MWF this year…Veterans Plaza at Overton Park.
Share your own memories at www.overtonpark.org/stories.