UPDATE: This article is written by Michael Sznajderman for Alabama NewsCenter. Learn more at: http://alabamanewscenter.com
A new initiative aims to nudge Alabamians to climb out of their easy chairs and head outdoors to “walk, run, hike, bike, swim, paddle, ride or roll” 100 miles by the end of the year while enjoying the state’s extraordinary scenery.
The 100 Alabama Miles Challenge kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday at Railroad Park in Birmingham, with coordinated events in Camden, Clanton, Cullman, Jasper, Red Bay and Chewacla State Park in Auburn. Anniston, Greenville and Jasper are planning similar events soon.
“The 100 Alabama Miles Challenge is a great way to get outside, enjoy the company of friends and family and see our beautiful state,” U.S. Army veteran, extreme race competitor and “Dancing with the Stars” hoofer Noah Galloway said in a news release announcing the challenge. Now a motivational speaker, the Birmingham native will serve as celebrity spokesman for the challenge.
Alabamians are encouraged to register at www.100alabamamiles.org, where they can log their miles and earn “electronic badges” for milestones reached and places they’ve visited. The site also offers information about trail locations and recreational events around the state. Participants can also share their experiences using the #100ALMiles hashtag.
The 100 Alabama Miles Challenge is being spearheaded by the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development(UACED) with support from numerous organizations, including the Alabama Trails Commission, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama, Lakeshore Foundation, the Alabama Beverage Association, AARP, Jefferson County Department of Health, Alabama Department of Public Health, the Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness and Sports, and the Alabama Obesity Task Force.
“Alabamians have high rates of inactivity and obesity and other associated health conditions, including hypertension and diabetes,” said Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama’s state health officer.
“Physical activity plays a major role in preventing obesity and chronic disease, and it is a blessing that Alabama has so many great places to get out and be active. The 100 Alabama Miles Challenge will be an outstanding program to help encourage that activity,” Harris said.
Brian Rushing, director of Economic Development at UACED and coordinator for the challenge, said the program also provides an opportunity to promote the state’s parks and other natural wonders and expand recreational tourism.
“We hope this program inspires people to seek out a previously unvisited trail or park to get outside and get to their 100 miles goal,” Rushing said.
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