Winning Walker

Jeanne picIt pays to walk.  Just ask Jeanne Bushong, the winner of Healthy Central Florida’s first 90-day walking contest, which kicked off at last year’s Mayors’ Sole Challenge.  The prize for taking the most steps was a free, one-year membership to the RDV Sportsplex, and she has been taking full advantage since she received it almost a year ago. 

During the Walker Tracker Challenge, the 90-day walking contest, Jeanne managed to log 479 miles or 1,084,000 steps—a distance further than a trip to Atlanta.  The next closest walker logged 405 miles.

The retired kindergarten teacher, who now stays busy doing substitute teaching, helping her husband Dr. Bob Bushong, Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Winter Park and being a full-time active grandmother, said she first learned about the Mayors’ Sole Challenge through the Winter Park City newsletter and thought, “I like to walk and that sounded like fun.  I just showed up.”

Held for a first time last year, the Mayors’ Sole Challenge is a friendly competition involving Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville to see which community can bring out the most walkers. The next Challenge is set for November 16th.

Jeanne showed up at last year’s event along with 500 other people from Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville.  She lives in Winter Park and therefore walked to represent Winter Park, but it was Eatonville who brought the most walkers and was proclaimed winner.

“It was awesome to see people from the other communities – there was a lot of enthusiasm.  It just had a good feel – a fun feel to it,” Jeanne said.  “ I liked that there was friendly competition between the three communities – getting people out and moving to improve their own health and fitness.”

While at the event, Jeanne learned about the various walks taking place in all three communities and about the “Walker Tracker” challenge.  She signed up and was soon walking with others in Winter Park and Maitland.  This was new for Jeanne. “I walked my dog, but I’d never set a specific time to meet and walk.  But I thought it would be fun to meet and walk with other people – the time goes so fast when you’re walking with other people.”

And soon she was walking several days a week, meeting new people and entering her steps – never realizing she was amassing the most steps – by a long shot.  Go Jeanne!

So it’s no surprise that she’s put the RDV Sportsplex membership to very good use.  She’s tried power classes, yoga, Zumba group groove, and three different swimming classes.  “I’ve tried them all,” she said.  “The group groove and Zumba really get my heart going.  The other piece is the balance and flexibility and the yoga and Centergy (combo of yoga, Pilates and stretching and balance).”

Jeanne said the RDV staff  has been very supportive and helped her feel comfortable as a new student.  “They give you a little introduction and make you feel welcome – and keep an eye on you.  The more I do it, the easier it gets.  This says to me it’s definitely working – not that it’s easy, but I find that I can do some things now that I couldn’t when I started.”

We’re thrilled that Jeanne was our first winner and we look forward to another exciting Mayors’ Sole Challenge and the beginning of a new 90-day friendly walking competition.  We’re working on more great prizes – so don’t miss out.  The sign up page on our website will go live in mid-October.  Stay tuned and get ready to walk!