TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A program encouraging Alabamians to reach 100 miles of physical activity during 2020 kicks off March 14.
Known as the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge, and sponsored by The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and its partners, the program urges activity, exploration and connecting with others.
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 parks, nature preserves, and rivers with friends and family. Since the program’s launch in 2018, participants have logged over 100,000 miles.
“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 in UA’s Center for Economic Development. “At 36%, 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 said.
The March 14 kickoff starts at with a 9 a.m. event at Birmingham’s Railroad Park where 100 Alabama Miles Ambassadors will share stories about active living and their favorite Alabama places to explore. Attendees will receive free T-shirts and decals and participate in a one-mile walk as a symbolic “first mile” of the Challenge for 2020. Similar kick-off events will later be held in other cities statewide.
Organizers invite the public to register for the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge at 100alabamamiles.org, where they will earn electronic badges for milestones reached and places visited while logging their miles. The website’s visitors can find statewide recreational trails, track progress individually and by teams, and obtain safety and wellness information.
Participants can take the challenge with friends and family and create teams and compete with others. Participants are encouraged to share photos and experiences on social media using the hashtag #100ALMiles.
Partnering with UA’s Center for Economic Development in developing and sustaining this program are: 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.