Maureen Conlon considers herself a motivator, and was unhappy working a desk job after getting a degree in marketing.
So the longtime Milton resident used her skills to motivate people to get in shape, and has been working for gyms and fitness programs for more than 20 years.
On April 6, she celebrates the third anniversary of her Milton Boot Camp, which she called her best project yet.
“This community of people is very attached,” Conlon said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. These people check in with each other.”
Conlon got involved in fitness training through running, which she began doing in college in 1988. She quickly got hooked and ran her first Boston Marathon in 1989.
“It made me feel better; it was therapeutic,” Conlon said of her training. “If I was going through a hard time or stressed about an exam, I would feel so much better after I exercised.”
Through getting herself motivated to run, she realized she could get others motivated to train.
After college, she got a job with State Street Bank, but she taught fitness classes at 6 a.m. on the side.
“I’m not good behind a desk,” Conlon said.
Little by little, she made the transition to teaching fitness full time.
While she found her job rewarding and gained success, Conlon still felt disconnected from her community in Milton. Reconnecting on Facebook with some former classmates from her days at Fontbonne Academy, she decided to do a class through the academy, and many Milton residents showed up.
Before she knew it, she was starting regular classes in Milton. She established Milton Boot Camp in April 2010.
The classes Conlon teaches are often outdoors and involve high-intensity workouts for people of all levels, she said. No workout is ever the same, and she uses a number of exercises geared for different age groups.
Most of her clients are women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, she said. As more classes have been offered, more students have achieved fitness goals, and Conlon created an award to recognize students who made improvements.
Conlon works to be supportive of her students, but early this year, they were the ones who were supportive of her.
Conlon’s father suffered a stroke on Jan. 9 and died a week later at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
She sent a letter to her students on the 9th apologizing for having to cancel her class that night and asking them to pray for her father. The response from them was overwhelming, Conlon said.
“I got these text messages saying ‘There is a cooler in your driveway,’” Conlon said. Her clients had left her a cooler overflowing with prepared food, and they replenished it daily, she said.
“I’d get home and there would be cards on my door asking how they could help,” she said.
So many sent her donations that Conlon and her mother are planning to make a donation with some of the money to the Visiting Nurse Association.
Conlon’s father was very special to her because he had been so supportive of her throughout her life, especially as she changed careers.
“He was a product of the Great Depression and just a hard-working guy,” Conlon said. “He wanted everyone to go to college because he didn’t have that experience.”
Conlon’s father was present at all her marathons and she named him as one of the most positive influences in her life.
Now Conlon is focused on the Milton Boot Camp’s anniversary celebration. The class, held outdoors, will be at the Fontbonne Academy on Saturday, April 6, from 9 to 10 a.m.
The cost is $15 for adults and $5 for children, and Conlon will be making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.
For more information on Milton Boot Camp and the anniversary celebration, visit www.miltonbootcamp.com.
“I’m just glad I have a successful business in Milton,” Conlon said. “I was raised here and I love it.”