Yoga Central Studio owner April Scruggs, 50, has been an active member of the fitness community all her life. Along with owning her own business, she is an avid marathon runner.
For Scruggs, running was never on her radar, especially marathons. She has always preferred fast walking, leaving the running to her husband, Ferrell. It wasn’t until he asked her to join him in a 5K that she become hooked
“After several 5ks, we moved to a 15k, and when I finished that race, I told him I wanted to do a marathon,” Scruggs said. “He thought I was crazy. Eleven months later, I ran my first marathon. I really thought I would do ‘one and done,’ but I caught the running bug, and, as they say, the rest is history.”
One of the marathons Scruggs ran in frequently was the Boston Marathon. Having run it in 2009 and 2011, Scruggs decided to participate in it one more time.
“April 15, 2013, was supposed to my last Boston for a while,” she said. “You have to qualify each and every time to run it, and I was ready to run some other races.”
However, what began as another one of the many marathons she has run before became a day that Scruggs will never forget. That day, a bombing occurred right after Scruggs crossed the finish line. She and her racing friends had split up during the race, so her only concern was that they had not yet finished.
“I had just finished the race and was standing at the finish line waiting for my friends when the first bomb when off,” Scruggs said. “It was only three minutes after I had finished. I knew from my previous Boston Marathons that this was not normal.”
Scruggs said that she was able to locate all her friends and even returned home to participate in another race called the Big Sur in California, which they had signed up for before the Boston race. The bombing was weighing heavily on them all.
“It’s a tough 10 days running two marathons back to back, coast to coast,” Scruggs said. “I was very nervous and scared to fly out to California and run Big Sur, but one of my running friends and I were signed up, and we needed to prove to ourselves that we could do this. The Big Sur marathon organizers were so kind and thoughtful to all of us with the Boston Marathon weighing heavy on the entire country and especially the runners.”
Some may have been deterred by running another marathon, especially in the same place the bombing occurred, but not Scruggs.
“The last marathon I have run was in Boston 2014 when I returned to run with my friends who didn’t finish in 2013 due to the race being stopped because of the bombing,” she said. “I will never let this unfortunate and terrible event stop me from doing what I want to do.”
It may seem that running takes up most of Scruggs’ time, but she enjoys yoga and dance just as much. This is mostly attributed to the fact that she has danced since she was young.
“Dancing early and throughout my young life allowed me to appreciate the discipline, focus, and balance that is required for a yoga practice,” Scruggs said. “The repetition and flow of yoga also resonated with me from my dancing years. I was a cheerleader in high school, and the level of energy and balance that is needed for cheerleading goes along with a yoga practice as well. My blended backgrounded all led me to falling in love with yoga very fast.”
Scruggs came into owning her own yoga studio by what she said was an accident.
“I was teaching yoga and keeping my running up, and then I received a call to come teach some yoga Downtown (Valdosta),” she said. “Owning a yoga studio was never a dream of mine, but it literally fell into my lap. Always stay open to possibilities.”
Scruggs loves that she can contribute to others lives through yoga. Her next steps are to bring more awareness of the practice to fellow Valdostians.
“I am constantly working on bringing new events to Downtown and to the yoga studio,” she said. “We are open to working with and collaborating with other businesses to offer new things to Valdosta and the Lowndes County area.”
While Scruggs has staying fit in the bag, she encourages anyone and everyone to try out yoga. It can be a great starting fitness routine for people who aren’t as fitness savvy.
“Yoga is a never ending pursuit,” Scruggs said. “I would encourage everyone to try yoga no matter your age or ability. We all need to be more grounded and balanced in our lives. Yoga offers the opportunity to always improve. Whatever you need on any particular day, you can find it on your mat.”
Written by: Alex Dunn
Photography by: Caleb Carswell