While everyone else is buzzing about town looking for the best pumpkin spiced latte or Halloween event, Maricopa County’s Parks and Recreation Department is preparing for the launch of their annual 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge on Wednesday, November 1.
“This is the seventh year Parks has offered the 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge. Visitors love it because it’s open to all abilities and user groups - hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and horseback riders. It’s also a great motivator for those looking to transition their indoor exercise routines back outdoors,” stated Board of Supervisors Chairman Denny Barney, District 1.
While the Challenge initially started out as a Centennial celebration, it has become an annual program due to popularity. The goal of the program is to log 100 miles in 100 days. Last year, 23 of the 237 individuals that completed the Challenge logged at least 200 miles. And, if that wasn’t impressive enough, two of the individuals managed to surpass 900 miles…each!
Collectively, those who completed the Challenge logged 34,673 miles on County trails. To put things into perspective, that’s just shy of traveling the distance of one-and-a-third times around the circumference of the Earth.
“The Challenge kicks-off on November 1 each year. However, eager participants are already stopping by the nature centers to see if they can start. While this is amusing to us because the trails are open year-round, we understand that it’s a personal challenge for park visitors and has become a badge of honor to those who complete it,” said R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department Director.
Knowing that it can be somewhat difficult to stay motivated during the holiday season, the department offers a community page on Facebook. Here, participants can share milestones, seek out trail recommendations, post photos, and join in on fun activities. The page is managed by the department’s interpretive rangers who have also developed fitness hikes to help Challenge participants reach their program and personal goals.
“The rangers will also be bringing back their passport programs, fitness hikes, mountain bike rides, and variety of other programs to help participants stay motivated throughout the Challenge,” added Cardin.
“The Challenge is a great way to draw attention to our impressive Regional Parks and Maricopa Trail system. As the fourth largest county in the country, it is important to provide amenities that connect people with nature and allow our residents and visitors to enjoy the beauty of Maricopa County,” said Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, District 3. “In my first year as a Supervisor, I’m excited to make the Challenge a yearly tradition and will be focusing on the entire Maricopa Trail, which links all of the county’s regional parks together. I’ve made it my personal goal to hike the entire 315-mile Trail by the end of my first term in office and will be out for my first hike, bright and early on November 1st!”
Supervisor Gates’ “Trek the Trail” campaign will start at 6:30am on November 1st at the Andy Kunasek Trailhead, near 7th Street and Desert Hills. Participants will hike to the Anthem Trailhead. You can join Supervisor Gates for his initial one-way 2.9 mile hike, and then follow the rest of his journey on Twitter and Instagram @BillGatesAZ with the hashtags #TrektheTrailMC and #GoBillGo.
To learn more about the Challenge and how you can become eligible for the grand prize drawing of an annual park pass ($85 value) and $25 Nature Center retail voucher (total value not to exceed $110), visit www.maricopacountyparks.net/things-to-do/activity/100-miles-in-100-days-challenge/.
The program runs through 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 8, 2018. Celebrations to recognize those who complete the Challenge have been scheduled at seven of the County’s regional parks for Saturday, March 10, 2018. In addition, everyone who completes the Challenge will receive a limited edition tee-shirt at the celebration.
So lace up your hiking boots or running shoes, dust off the mountain bikes, and saddle up those horses because the 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge begins on November 1! For a list of County parks and additional information, visit www.maricopacountyparks.net.
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