Julia Roberts Goad
The Mingo County Diabetes Coalition’s 2013 Lunch Walk/Run program kicked off this week, with hundreds of people taking advantage of spring weather to kickstart a more active lifestyle.
Alexis Batausa with the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition explained there are 30 teams currently on board, with new teams being added. Each team averages 10 to 13 members.
This year, the walkers in Williamson are partnering with people walking in Marin City, California. Batausa said the goal is that walkers in Mingo County will log enough miles to walk to Marin City, and that those walkers in California will walk enough miles to stretch to Williamson.
“We think having their city participate with us will strive together to become healthier communities through physical activity,” Batausa said. “We are hoping to connect other cities across the nation.”
Batausa said communities throughout the county are participating.
Each team is recommended to purchase its own pedometer. If they cannot, then MCDC will help them purchase pedometers.
Each week, the goal is to reach 10,000 steps which are converted to 5 miles. Team leaders will gather info from their team members and log them onto a website. Each Friday, a map will be displayed at each location which will show the progress of each team’s goal.
The program will run nine weeks, until June 7. The final event will take place on June 8th at the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon Festival. Participants from the program have a choice to run or walk any of the races from the marathon, the half marathon, and the 5K.
“The 5K is what we want everyone to participate in,” Batausa said.”Last year, the 5K was closed to the public and had a pretty good turnout for those completed the program that spring. This year, the 5K will be opened up to the world.”
Batausa’s team, the Tug Valley Road Runners Club was involved last Fall. He said, “Last Fall was pretty competitive getting those steps in. We were surprised to lose to the Courthouse Crew. We were the stepping stone for each team and that made it really fun.”
This year, the Courthouse Crew has a new member: Lee Ann Blankenship, daughter of Iris Chaffin.
Chaffin works in the assessor’s office. Although Blankenship works at the Department of Health and Human Resources in Williamson, she said she usually walks with her mother, and so it was a natural fit when a slot opened up on the courthouse team, she joined them.
“Its so great for the people in the DHHR office,” Blankenship said. “There are people who just get so covered up in work they don’t even go to lunch. But, now they go outside and walk.”
Blankenship and her mother have a friendly competition going on, they said, although last year’s prize for the top walker was only a giftcard for a sandwich shoppe.
“We have two teams here, but I just walk with Mom,” she said. “We keep our pedometers on all the time, if she tells me she is walking somewhere, I ask her if she had hers on.”
Both women say they have lost weight and feel better since participating in Lunch Walk.
This is the third year Pat Poole of City Insurance has paricicipated.
“City Insurance Agency has participated in the Lunch/Walk program since its inception,” Poole said. “This program has definitely made our team think more about getting off the couch and outside or on the treadmill to get in their miles.”
Today, MDCD is encouraging anyone who is interested in Lunch Walk to come out in Williamson today at noon to show support and interest in the program.
A weight loss program is being offered to on April 12th. They will meet every week at MCDC office in Williamson to have weigh-ins, discuss their habits, and bringing their own lunch. The weight loss program is run through the WVU Extension office here in Williamson. Contact Dana Wright, 304-235-2692 ext. 1104.
It is not too late, MCDC is looking for local businesses, offices, churches, civic organizations to get involved. If you want to participate in the Lunch Walk/Run Program, please contact Alexis Batausa at 304 235-3400 or email him, email@example.com