Are you a regular walker, one who uses a pedometer or fitness app to track your daily step count? Then join the Walk Sitka team in the American Public Health Association‘s Keep It Moving Challenge (formerly known as the Billion Steps Challenge), a national event that runs from Jan. 1 through April 11, 2021. The contest ends after National Public Health Week (April 5-11).
This event is free, and the competition helps motivate people to get out and do more walking. Many people set a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day, and that adds up over the contest that lasts just a bit longer than three months. This year there are ways to convert other activities into steps to log into the walking challenge.
Most of the final stats from the 2019 and 2020 challenges aren’t available, but Walk Sitka’s Jim Rogers did finish in the top five individually with about 2.2 million steps in 2019. Another Sitka resident, Karen Hegyi, who was competing for a family team called AKtoAZ, ranked among the top 10 for the first several weeks of the 2019 challenge, but faded out of the top 10 after a back injury. There were a couple of teams from Alaska, including Walk/Bike Alaska. In 2019, there were more than 5,000 walkers on more than 400 teams in the challenge, and together they walked 1.56 billion steps. The top three teams in 2019 were CrisfieldWalks, Falisha Got This 2019 and Wonderful Walkers. No standings were available from 2020.
In 2017, Walk Sitka only had one person walking (Charles Bingham), but he recorded more than half-a-million steps while averaging about 8,500 a day (finishing in the top 60 teams). In 2018, Walk Sitka had two people walking (Karen Hegyi and Charles Bingham), and Walk Sitka recorded more than 2.8 million steps (an average of 14,655 steps a day) to finish fourth overall. There was one other identifiable Alaska team in the 2018 Billion Steps Challenge — Anchorage Public Health DHHS — which recorded more than 14.5 million steps but only had an average of 3,529 steps per day to finish 176th overall. There were 400 teams in the 2018 event, who totaled more than 2.2 billion steps.
To sign up, click this link. Once you’re registered, you should be directed to this link. Click on the Teams link, then scroll through the team names to find the Walk Sitka logo. or type our name in the search bar Click the Join Team button and you’re in. The Walk Sitka team is open to walkers from Sitka, Alaska.
The challenge uses a website called WalkerTracker, which links to a variety of fitness apps for automatic registration of steps. The Walker Tracker app is available in the App Store for iPhone or Google Play store for android. If you’re using the app to sign up, be sure to use “aphakeepitmoving.walkertracker.com” as your “program URL.” But if you’re old school and use a pedometer clipped to your belt, there is a link so you can manually enter your steps.