Betty Forbes has never been a star athlete, but she takes a certain pride in being the oldest member of her exercise group.

Forbes is 93 — and she`s been working her muscles with her Burnaby senior women's group three times a week for the past 40 years.

Her friend, Marian McKeown, has been around just as long. But she's the "baby" of the group, Forbes says.

"She's only 88. Or 86? She won't tell me," Forbes laughs.

"But when you get to be 90, you're proud of the fact that you've made it."

The women have a cheeky name for their exercise group: ALIVE, which stands for All Ladies Interested in Vitality and Energy.

Overheard on the radio

It wasn't the initial name when the group got its start in March 1977.

Back then, Terry Moore, a radio host with CJOR, advertised a running club on air.

McKeown heard his call and made her way to Burnaby's Central Park. It was then she met Forbes.

The group became known as "Moore's Milers," drawing more than 60 men and women.

Moore eventually moved away, and Forbes and McKeown took over the group, which whittled down to 30 women.

Since then, they've been militaristic about their routine.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the group meets at 9 a.m. in the park for some rigorous sets.

"I always say, if I can balance, I'm going to have a good day. If I can't balance, it's not going to be so good," McKeown said. 

"You have lots of good days, Marian," Forbes said.  

'It's become part of our lives'

There's some singing involved, and plenty of chatter between the women.

At one point, the women read from a list of comments about what ALIVE means to them.

"It means exercising muscles I would not use and being part of a very caring group of ladies," McKeown read.

"It's become part of our lives," Forbes said. "You get up and the weather's bad and you go anyway."

They faced a minor setback last winter when snow blanketed the Lower Mainland. The icy trails forced them out of the park for two months.

Still, the women managed to show up on December 26.

"Are we ever glad to come out here and get exercise after our big Christmas dinners," McKeown said.


With files from Caroline Chan and CBC's The Early Edition