At least three days a week, you won't find Harvey Stierhoff sleeping late in his retirement years.
You will find the 77-year-old Norwalk resident at the Ernsthausen Community Center at 6 a.m. those days, walking and swimming.
Stierhoff has been exercising for about a decade, but this summer marked the first year he recorded his time as part of the Norwalk 90 an annual city-wide program that encourages residents to exercise at least three times a week for 90 minutes each.
Stierhoff was one of the many participants in the program, which wrapped up its second year with a picnic Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Lake Park.
Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch said she won't know how many people participated until they all turn in their log sheets, which recorded minutes and miles.
"I thought it was a wonderful program," Stierhoff said. Several expressed that sentiment at Tuesday's conclusion, which included a pizza dinner and raffle.
The 2007 Norwalk 90 may be over, but that does not mean those who took the challenge will become couch potatoes this winter; several interviewed said they will continue exercising.
What will motivate them? For about a half dozen people, the Senior Walkers.
The group began at Senior Enrichment Services two years ago, and it continues to this day. Until snowy weather sets in, group members walk three days a week for 90 minutes each from Pleasant Street to Halfway Road and back a little more than three miles, said walker Doris Wright, 76, of Norwalk. Group members also walk together for the Norwalk 90.
In addition to Wright and Healy, other Senior Walker members are Juanita Link, Linda Beverage and Stierhoff.
"It's an obligation so it's a good idea to walk with a group like this," Wright said.
The chance to lose weight can serve as incentive as well. Wright said between dieting and walking, she lost 50 pounds last year.
Two-year-old Gabby is 11-year-old Jenna Thrope's reminder to get out and stretch her legs. Thrope, a fifth grade Main Street School student, said she walks her cairn terrier every day, and might bring it to next year's Norwalk 90.
This summer marked Thrope's first year in the program. She said it "pretty much" energized her.
"I'm always energetic, no matter what," Thrope said.
There is not a final count yet as to how many people participated citywide in this event. Participants have until Saturday to mail or bring their logs to city hall at 38 Whittlesey Ave.