Nearly 1,100 (1045 participants) finished the recent Walk90 Challenge, taking a whopping total of 468,080,389 total steps. That’s equivalent to 9.4 trips around the earth!
Leading the pack were a group of top step-getters who came together for a luncheon celebration to share stories and compare walking strategies and to learn more about their fellow competitors. This year’s winners are a diverse and inspiring group, ranging in age from mid-20s to upper 70s (most being well over 60). Several were also retired military – representing navy, army and air force – and still maintaining a rigorous workout schedule. They were also generous of spirit – several declining to accept prizes – or re-gifting them to others.
Several of the winners attended a luncheon and are pictured above: L to R: Johnnie Anderson, Karen Smith, Tom Carter, Kim Smith, Anne Marie O’Brien, Nan Druskin, Erick Almasi and Suzanne Weckerle.
Recently retired Winter Park resident, Tom Carter, who is 76-years young, was the grand prizewinner, walking away with a one-year membership to RDV Sportsplex. Exemplifying that generous spirit, Tom announced at the luncheon, that he would donate his membership to RDV to one of the runners-up, Karen Smith, who was close on his heels in terms of steps – and who has lost 115 pounds in the last year.
“I live at Westminster and we have a great workout facility there,” Tom said. “I wanted to support Karen in her great strides in improving her health through weight loss and exercise.”
Tom is the perfect walking ambassador, having been an avid walker for many years, including participating in “Volksmarch”, a German walking club, which is now a worldwide movement to encourage exercise. He has completed 902 walks of 10 km (6.2 miles) or longer, while living in Germany and since returning to the U.S. These days, Tom logs many of his steps while helping others by volunteering four days a week at Mead and Leu Gardens.
When we announced Tom’s generous gift to Karen, the group applauded and Karen gave him a big hug! Thanking Tom, she assured him her RDV membership would be put to good use. Karen, who works at Charles Schwab, said she walks to work, works out in the morning, during the day and again at night, where she participates in several different classes – and walks on the treadmill while watching TV (because she cut off her cable to save money). Now that’s dedication!
We applaud Karen’s motivation and discipline as well as Tom’s generosity and we thank all of the winners for setting an inspiring example of how to get moving and lead healthy lives.
Our five runners-up, all with equally inspiring stories and huge step counts each won a Fitbit Flex2.
Congratulations to Tom Carter with 3.3 million steps – Wins a one-year membership to RDV Sportsplex
Johnnie Anderson – 3 million-plus steps (retired, ex-military – great sport – also would have given Karen the prize!)
CW Stidham – 3 million plus steps (a super-runner who works at the City of Winter Park)
Karen Smith – 2.9 million steps (has lost 115 pounds in the last year – still going strong!)
Anne Marie O’Brien – 2.9 million steps (ex-military – works at CareerSource – gave her Flex2 to her co-worker)
Pink Hinson – 2.6 million steps (Retired military, early riser – ready to walk across America!)
Erick Almasi – 2.4 million steps (The youngster in the bunch who is now walking and biking…everywhere!)
CareerSource of Central Florida walked away with the championship in the team competition. With more than 100 teams signed up and walking together, CareerSource was a contender from the start. With dedicated leadership from HR Manager, Jerry Sandiford, the team had 66 participants and several health success stories.
Two team members reported going from “pre-diabetic” to the normal range for blood glucose and several others reported weight loss, more exercise than normal and overall improved well-being. Anne Marie O’Brien, who was one of the top individual finishers, gave the Fitbit Flex2 that she won to her team organizer, Jerry. Kudos to Anne Marie, Jerry and the entire CareerSource team!