If you have a favourite trail, trot spot, or walking route – whatever you want to call it – here’s your chance to show it off.
The government of B.C. started the Healthy Families BC Walking Challenge on August 8. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to go online and submit photos, videos or stories for their respective communities. So far, several people have flocked online to www.HealthyFamiliesBCWalkingChallenge.ca and there are maps set-up for each submission that provide directions, length, and the difficulty of each trail.
For added motivation, each person who submits a walk will be entered into a draw to win one of 200 prizes (30 winners each week), as well as six weekend getaways and a grand prize of $50,000 that will go to one winning community.
“It’s a pretty fun challenge, sounds like a great way to win some prizes and a good way to start August,” said 2010 Olympic gold medallist Maelle Ricker (a West Vancouver native) at the Walking Challenge’s opening announcement on August 8.
There have been tons of submissions so far, and routes include everything from high-tempo power hikes to casual strolls around Surrey’s Crescent Beach and Blackie Spit. Whether you like to get out by yourself, with a friend, or with your whole family, everything is welcome.
The Province is hoping that the Walking Challenge gets people outside and promotes a healthy, active lifestyle.
And, after all, what’s a better place for a contest like this than British Columbia?
“I believe in exercise and getting outside with your family, your friends, with your dog, your pets, whoever it might be to get exercise and not only for the exercise component but just to enjoy the environment,” said Ricker. “Enjoy your province.”
Liberal MLA and Health Minister Mike de Jong was also at last Monday’s opening walk, which started on a sunny afternoon at one end of Coal Harbour and finished at the site of the 2010 Olympic Torch – a fitting spot for a jaunt with the Olympian Ricker.
“What a thrill for all of us,” he said at the Olympic Torch, with a contingent of a dozen or so walkers behind him. de Jong said he will be taking part in the Walking Challenge and that he’s been out walking and is getting ready to pick up his game.
“Well, it’s been mostly fun,” he said of his training. “Some of it’s a little hard, you know… anything worth doing, there are going to be challenges along the way, but so far I’m enjoying it and the Walking Challenge is something that I intend to take up and it’ll make a difference.
“I know it will.”
The contest runs until next month, when winners will be chosen from a host of hundreds of routes. Don’t forget to check out what everyone else has done and you may even find a new route that you didn’t know about, whether you’re from the Okanagan Valley and Kelowna, an island city like Saanich, a metropolis like Vancouver, or up north in Prince Rupert.
“Stay active and stay fit and let’s get rid of some of the chronic diseases that we can eliminate by just being a little bit healthier,” said Ricker.
“Also, just enjoy yourself outside, really. That’s contagious. I always find that once you get a little bit of exercise, it automatically lifts up your step a little but more and brings a smile to your face.”
For more information, visit HealthFamiliesBCWalkingChallenge.ca for more information and follow the B.C. government at @BCGovNews on Twitter for daily updates.