Melissa Jeffries walked the entire length of the Alaskan Iditarod Trail — virtually, that is.
The equivalent of 90 miles Jeffries, the Henry County Public Schools nurse, said the walk took her about a month to complete.
Jeffries walked the Iditarod by logging onto the YMCA’s America on the Move Foundation’s STEPtember contest. “You pick a walking trail, and record your steps or activity for one month,” she said.
Jeffries and 20 other Henry County Public Schools staffers participated. “About 16 finished,” she said. “The goal was to educate participants about their daily activity and motivate them to increase their activity over time.”
Wearing a pedometer made it easier for Jeffries to keep track and stay motivated. “It’s much easier to not do and just quit,” she said. “A pedometer lets you see how many steps you’ve taken.”
Kevin Whitt, a school bus driver and pastor of the Harvest Community Church in Eminence, came in first for the men, amassing a total of 116,626 steps. “I did a lot of swimming and walking,” he said. “That’s how I got in most of my exercise.”
Whitt already lost almost 50 pounds while participating in a local Biggest Loser competition.
On the day before Thanksgiving he said he was helping cook turkeys for Harvest Community Church to share with the community. “I’m taking a little break over the holidays,” he said.
Whitt said he plans to join in the HCPS Biggest Loser contest in January. “The accountability and encouragement is something that works well for me,” he said.
Suzanne Nelson won for the women logging an incredible 495,588 steps. She could not be reached for comment prior to press time.
Whitt and Nelson were rewarded with a free one-month membership to the Eminence Community Fitness Center, donated by director Alex Jensen.
“I’m always looking for ways for us to get more active,” Jeffries said, “me included.”
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