The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) joins the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development (UACED) and its partner organizations to announce the official kickoff of the 2020 season of the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge on Saturday, March 14.
The 100 Alabama Miles Challenge is a statewide public program designed to inspire all Alabamians to be active, go explore, and connect with others by getting 100 miles of activity in each year. Participants can walk, run, hike, bike, swim, paddle, ride or roll to their 100-mile goal, and while they can participate at home, in their neighborhood, or at their favorite gym, the program encourages them to also visit Alabama’s beautiful parks, nature preserves, and rivers with their friends and family. Since the program’s launch in 2018, participants have logged over 100,000 miles.
The 2020 season of the Challenge officially kicks off with a public event held at Birmingham’s Railroad Park at 9 a.m. Featured at this event will be 100 Alabama Miles Ambassadors, who will share their personal stories about the importance of active living and their favorite places to explore in our state. Attendees will receive free program tee shirts and decals and participate in a one-mile walk as a symbolic “first mile” of the Challenge for 2020. Later in the season, similar kick-off events will be held in other cities around Alabama.
“Alabama is blessed with so many unique and beautiful outdoor recreational destinations that offer fantastic opportunities for Alabamians to be active,” said Brian Rushing, the program’s coordinator and Director of Economic Development Initiatives at UACED. “At 36 percent, Alabama has the fifth-highest obesity rate in the nation, and this is due, in part, to a lack of physical activity. This program is designed to inspire people who aren’t as active as they should be to get outside and take advantage of the great resources our state has to offer,” Rushing added.
“We are pleased to join in the promotion of this statewide fitness initiative to prevent and reduce the prevalence of obesity and increase regular physical activity for all Alabamians said Laurie Eldridge-Auffant, ADPH. “The Challenge offers a fun way to engage people of all ages in a healthy lifestyle experience.”
Organizers invite the public to register for the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge at 100alabamamiles.org, where they will earn electronic badges for milestones they reach and places they visit as they log their miles. The website enables participants to find recreational trails throughout the state, track their progress individually and by teams, and to get important safety and wellness information before they head outside. Participants can take the challenge with friends and family and even create teams and compete with others. Program organizers encourage participants to share their photos and experiences on social media as they journey to 100 miles using the hashtag #100ALMiles.
Other partners in developing and sustaining this program include the Alabama Trails Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Lakeshore Foundation, Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness and Sports, Jefferson County Department of Health, AARP and the Alabama Obesity Task Force. These partners have designed the 100 Alabama Miles program to support public health and to enhance economic development through recreational tourism.