TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The 100 Alabama Miles Challenge, a statewide program encouraging all Alabamians to live a more active and healthy lifestyle, begins its 2019 season with a kickoff event March 2 in Birmingham’s Railroad Park, according to The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and its partner organizations.
The Challenge encourages the state’s residents to walk, run, hike, bike, swim, paddle, ride or roll 100 miles each year. While Alabamians can participate at home, in their neighborhood, or at their favorite gym, the program supports participants visiting Alabama’s parks, nature preserves, and rivers with their friends and family. The program urges all Alabamians to be active, go explore and connect with others.
Now in its second year, the Challenge’s kickoff event begins at 9 a.m. and features the 100 Alabama Miles Ambassadors, who will share their stories about overcoming health challenges to become physically active. In addition to distributing free logo gear, the 100 Alabama Miles Ambassadors will lead a one-mile walk as a symbolic “first mile” of the Challenge for 2019.
Later in the season, similar kick-off events will be held in other cities around Alabama, including Huntsville, Red Bay and Jasper.
“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,” said Brian Rushing, the program’s coordinator and director of economic development initiatives at UA’s Center for Economic Development. “However, our state is blessed with literally hundreds of unique and beautiful outdoor recreational destinations that offer fantastic opportunities for all Alabamians to become active.”
The public may 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 obtain important safety and wellness information before heading 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.
The UA center’s partners in developing and sustaining the 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, Alabama Department of Public Health, and the Alabama Obesity Task Force.
These partners designed the 100 Alabama Miles program to support public health and to enhance economic development through recreational tourism.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.