Last year as a new mom, Courtney Price was looking for a way to get back into shape, “something to help me lose more of my baby weight.” She found motivation in the 100 Mile Challenge. When Price learned that the woman who launched the challenge last year didn’t have time to manage the Facebook-based fitness group this year, Price stepped up to again provide “get up and move” motivation to residents in west central Missouri and beyond.
The 100 Mile Challenge is pretty basic: Between June 22 and Sept. 1, log 100 miles running, walking, biking, swimming – any way or ways you choose to get active. Participants log their progress (miles completed, miles to go) on the “100 Mile Challenge 2015” open group on Facebook.
Price participates in Zumba classes at Total Fitness Gym with instructor Kim Ream, whose sister, Amanda Kimminau, issued the challenge last year.
“I had started joining a bunch of challenges with friends from Texas, so I thought it would be a great idea to bring a challenge to this area,” said Kimminau, of Overland Park, Kan.
When Price learned from Ream that Kimminau wasn’t planning to oversee the 100 Mile Challenge this year due to other responsibilities, Price grabbed the reins.
“I said, ‘Feel free, get it going,’” Ream said. “It motivated a lot of people last year.”
Count me among those who found inspiration in the challenge last year, even though I didn’t jump in until the last week of July. Still, the challenge motivated me to get out and log miles. I needed a few days beyond Sept. 1 to hit 100, but the satisfaction of reaching the goal was not diminished by the date on the calendar.
Tarl Bentley, a Sedalia School District 200 teacher, joined the challenge last year and faced some additional challenges to reach his goal.
“I … almost didn’t finish because I had a stomach infection and had my gallbladder removed, but I got it done,” said Bentley, who is taking the challenge again this year. “After battling health issues the past year I decided that it is time to lose weight and get healthy. I have challenged myself to run a 5K a month and push myself in the gym harder than ever before. … The challenge keeps me accountable and my competitive nature makes me push harder.”
Logging miles on the road, on the Katy Trail, in the gym or in the pool is the hard part, but the reward comes when you log your progress on the Facebook page. Participants – some you know, many you don’t – quickly “like” your progress report and offer encouraging words. That support fuels you to keep on track to reach the 100-mile goal.
“I love cheering people on and seeing how excited they are for doing their runs every day,” Kimminau said.
Ream believes that community support is what has made the challenge so successful.
“It’s all about reaching a goal,” she said. “One hundred miles seems like a lot. That can be an overwhelming number for a lot of people … so accomplishing it is powerful.”
Price mixes her walking and running with stints on the StairMaster. She doesn’t include miles she rides on her bike in her total because, in her opinion, “It’s a little too easy to get in those miles.” But she quickly pointed out that “everyone is different” and each participant gets to make the challenge their own.
“People want options; some are new to this. The point is, you’re moving,” she said. “You’re doing something and making yourself accountable for it.”
At the conclusion of last year’s challenge, participants were able to purchase T-shirts proclaiming they completed their 100 miles. Price is hopeful that will be an option again this year.
“It’s nice to have the shirt to say, ‘Hey, I did it,’” she said. “I have mine from last year. It’s kind of cool.”
But first, you have to take the challenge. Ream is impressed by everyone who steps up to participate.
“People who weren’t sure of themselves are saying, ‘OK, I’ll give it a go,’” she said. “It’s all about just getting started. Maybe they weren’t active before, but they think, ‘I’ll give it a try,’ and they do it.”
More than 360 people have taken this year’s challenge, and there is room for many more.
“I welcome people to look it up and join,” Price said. “It’s not too late – you have until Sept. 1, there is plenty of time.”
She also reminds participants that it’s a personal challenge, not a race.
“When you are reading other posts, don’t let it discourage you if they log more miles than you do – everyone works at their own pace,” Price said. “It’s your own personal goal, and if you set your mind to it, you can do it.”