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#100ALMiles: Initiative promotes recreational tourism, encourages fitness

A new statewide economic development initiative is encouraging Alabamians to make use of the numerous parks, nature preserves and rivers in the state, and get fit in the process.

The 100 Alabama Miles Challenge is presented by the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development (UACED) along with other partnering organizations.

The goal is for a person to complete 100 miles of activity over a year’s span in Alabama’s nature by walking, running, hiking, swimming, paddling, riding or rolling.

While this seems like an impossible goal, the program suggests merely doing two miles a week for the year.

Lots of local spots for 100-mile fun

As an incentive, participators in the challenge can make an online account at 100alabamamiles.org and will earn electronic badges for every milestone they achieve.

Those who are participating in the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge are encouraged to use the #100ALMiles to share photos and other information across social media as they earn their mileage.

For example, if a person exercised in the Conecuh National Forest, they would receive a Conecuh Forest badge.

The website also helps catalog how many miles a person has completed towards the challenge and find recreational trails through the state

The website also contains important health information before individuals begin exercising.

Along with the website comes a resource library that contains information about Alabama’s recreation trails.

Those who are participating in the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge are encouraged to use the hashtag #100ALMiles to share photos and other information across social media as they earn their mileage.

Alabama’s Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, says that Alabamians have high rates of health issues.

“Alabamians have high rates of inactivity and obesity and other associated health conditions, including hypertension and diabetes. Physical activity plays a major role in preventing obesity and chronic disease,” he said.

The challenge will kick off on Sat., May 12, with several events planned throughout the state with Alabama State Parks as an event partner.

The largest event will take place in Birmingham at the Railroad Park at 9 a.m.

Noah Galloway, a veteran of the United States Army, an extreme race competitor and motivational speaker who was also recently a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, will be a guest speaker at the event.

Galloway will lead attendees on a one-mile walk around Railroad Park as a first mile of the challenge for 2018.

Brian Rushing, the program coordinator and director of economic development initiatives at UACED said that the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge is important.

“As an on going program, the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge will be an important tool to support economic development across our state through recreational tourism,” Rushing said.

“Alabama has so many wonderful parks and beautiful natural areas and we hope this program inspires people to seek out a previously unvisited trail or park to get outside and get their 100 miles goal.”