2011-08-25 / News

St. Ignace Team Wins $1,000 For Community in Let’s Get Moving Challenge

By Mary Petrides


Let’s Get Moving participants won fourth place in the health challenge and raised $1,000 for St. Ignace. The money will likely go toward a walkway or trail, organizers say. Participants (not in order) are: Dick Soczek, Robin Belonga, Wendy Snyder, Renee Vonderwerth, Colleen Horn, Laurie Steiner, LuAnn Krause, Nancy Brown, Charlie Brown, Michelle Walk, Les Therrian, Melissa Wirgau, Tarry Stowitts, Janet Peterson, Stan Kujawa, Mary Swiderski, Mike Fedrizzi and Kay Kujawa. Let’s Get Moving participants won fourth place in the health challenge and raised $1,000 for St. Ignace. The money will likely go toward a walkway or trail, organizers say. Participants (not in order) are: Dick Soczek, Robin Belonga, Wendy Snyder, Renee Vonderwerth, Colleen Horn, Laurie Steiner, LuAnn Krause, Nancy Brown, Charlie Brown, Michelle Walk, Les Therrian, Melissa Wirgau, Tarry Stowitts, Janet Peterson, Stan Kujawa, Mary Swiderski, Mike Fedrizzi and Kay Kujawa. The St. Ignace team received its $1,000 award for fourth place in the Let’s Get Moving Community Challenge Tuesday, August 2.

This year’s health challenge, sponsored by Blue Cross and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, added Newberry and Kinross to last year’s St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Manistique, and Munising. The eight-week program promotes physical activity and healthy nutrition.

“The hope is that after you incorporate these healthy behaviors after eight weeks’ time, they’ll become routine,” said Jeanette O’Rourke, St. Ignace community coordinator for the Sault Tribe’s Strategic Alliance for Health projects.

Participants earn points, or miles, by logging various types of healthy habits – exercising, drinking water, eating fruits and vegetables, not smoking, keeping food journals – online. At the end of the eight weeks, communities are awarded prizes between $500 and $2,000 based on the highest average miles per participant.

St. Ignace’s team members logged 29,466 miles, averaging 74.42 miles per participant.

Manistique earned first place with an average of 93.84 miles per participant; Sault Ste. Marie second, averaging 84.57 miles; Munising third, averaging 83.53 miles; Newberry fifth, averaging 64.45 miles; and Kinross sixth, averaging 33.21 miles.

The community must use that money in a long-lasting way that would enhance or improve physical activity for the whole community. The Mackinac County Wellness Coalition, which meets monthly, decides what to do with St. Ignace’s prize money. Last year, the money went toward bicycle racks that will be installed along the boardwalk. This year’s money will go toward a walkway at Chief Wawatam Park, Mrs. O’Rourke said.

The challenge is open to anyone from these communities. St. Ignace had 143 participants this year, up from last year’s 90. Manistique had 115 participants this year, Sault Ste. Marie 99, Munising 86, Newberry 71, and Kinross 23.

“We have a real broad range,” Mrs. O’Rourke said. “We have school kids who are on different ball teams, or practicing for track, and we have some senior citizens that are very active and involved.”

The variety of activities is wide, too, Mrs. O’Rourke said. Some people walk a lunch loop in the middle of the day, some people have formed a running club, some ride their bicycles to the grocery store instead of driving.

Rich Cullen, a St. Ignace Police patrolman, began a running club while training for a marathon. The club has 17 members and nearly all of them participated in the Let’s Get Moving challenge.

Club members range in age from 12 to late 40s.

Mr. Cullen said he started the running club because when word got out that he was training for a marathon, “everybody and their brother has a question” about running. The club meets once or twice a week for training and running.

Participating in the challenge has encouraged people to exercise more, Mr. Cullen said.

“It may have piqued their interest a little more,” he said. “I think it’s definitely picked up people’s fitness or level of activity.”

Tarry Stowitts of St. Ignace logged 1,752 miles, the greatest number of miles for the St. Ignace team.

She began walking in June 2009 to lose weight, she said. She begins her day around 5 a.m. and spends an hour and a half to two hours walking five to six miles with some stops to take photographs. She wears a pedometer and logs about 20,000 steps per day.

She is encouraged when she sees people running, she said.

“Seeing them jogging and working out gave me the incentive to keep going,” she said.

She said the Let’s Get Moving campaign encouraged her, as well.

“This challenged me to go that extra mile because I knew it was for a good cause,” she said.

“I’ve had people say ‘I read this in the paper and it really got me motivated to get going and do something and let it help the community,’” Mrs. O’Rourke said. “It’s just kind of a neat thing to see how people are just grabbing ahold of the idea and becoming more active.”

Those who wish to continue logging their miles online can still do so, Mrs. O’Rourke said.

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