Although they exercise year-around, the Green Valley group of Better Than Ever (BTE) participants met recently at the Arizona Family Restaurant to formally kick off the Fall 2012 season.

BTE is an informal program from the University of Arizona Cancer Center that encourages people to include exercise as a regular part of their lives and, at the same time, raise money to support cancer research at the U of A. This is the 13th year for BTE and the Green Valley group includes many veterans of past events; some cancer survivors, some not.

Coordinator Karen Reinhardt says BTE is open to anyone and is friendly and non-competitive and can be tailored to fit anyone’s abilities and goals. In addition to walking, participants can choose to run or cycle.

“Many of our members train for the upcoming events and we can tailor training for anyone who wants it to fit their goals and the event they’ll be taking part in,” she says.

Early on Saturday morning with cool temperatures and a strong breeze blowing, a half dozen regulars met at the Desert Hills Recreation Center for a brisk walk before the heat of the day.  They say the group varies in size week-to-week and is usually larger.

Upcoming events for which BTE folks are training include the 4.4 mile Pink Ribbon Run/walk, El Tour de Tucson and, the most popular event with Green Valley BTE, the Tucson Half Marathon Run/Walk.

Information about the program and registration is available online at www.azcc.arizona.edu/outreach/bte or type “BTE Arizona” into an Internet search engine.

There is a $15 registration fee and BTE says all proceeds including funds raised on pledges stays in Arizona and at the U of A.

The program also offers a “Train from Home” option for anyone unable to join a group.