Our third annual community wide walking challenge has now come to an end. This year, teams virtually made their way from Acapulco, Mexico to Costa Rica for a total of 4,645 kilometers, or approximately 5,806,250 steps!

To cover this distance, each member of a team of 12 would have to walk 10,000 steps per day to reach the finish line in the seven week time frame, and boy oh boy, did they ever!

In the end, collectively, we walked 152,131 kilometers or 190,163.750 steps! That’s equivalent to walking the circumference of the earth 3.8 times. Or, put in a different perspective, the Trans-Canada Highway is one of the world’s longest national highways with a main route spanning 8,303 kms, so together, we crossed Canada almost 19 times!

We had 27 teams (324 people) take part in this year’s challenge. Each week teams / team members were challenged to keep moving.

Week 1 teams were challenged to get the most overall steps by the end of the week. The winning team of this challenge was “All About the Steps”.

Week 2 was an individual challenge, with a prize going to the person with the greatest improvement from week 1. Winner of this challenge was Jo-Anne Chartrand of team Cirque de Sore Legs.

Week 3 was our photo contest which was amazing. Thank you all that posted for the many great photos posted on the Wawa Walks Facebook page. Oh the places participants walked! Red Lake, White River, Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto, Punta Cana, Orphan Lake, Steep Hill, Hawk Junction, Edinburgh & Aberdeen, Scotland, High Falls, Bridget Lake, Mobert, Nakomis and many, many other amazing places. The winner of the photo contest was Emma Blanchet of team Red Hot Chili Steppers.

Week 4’s challenge was Leave your car at home – encouraging participants to walk to work, or walk to do their errands. Participants had to submit their name into a drop box at the community centre and a name was drawn each day. The winners of this challenge were:

Ginette Cyr of team Shoelace Express
Genevieve Verreault of team Buns on the Run
Barb Leschishin of team On a Mission
Jennifer Hall of team School of Walk
Stacey White of team 10,000 Steps! We’d rather be Skating

Week 5’s Challenge was Spot Prizes. Eyes were out watching and catching folks each day that were out and about getting their steps in. Each day names of people that were spotted were put in a box and a lucky winner was selected.

Winners of this challenge were:

Jessica Nolan of team Buns on the Run
Lynne Burnham of team Miss Fits
Debbie Tavella of team Young and the Breathless
Janet Besner of team MisFHTs 3
Katherine Boyd of team MisFHTs 3

Week 6 was to recognize a walking idol. Team Captains were asked to submit an individual’s name that they believed was inspiring to others by their hard work and determinations. One name was selected from those submitted. The winner of this prize was Shelley Duplessis-Skouris of team NikeAir.

We received many wonderful recommendations for the Walking Idol prize, with great stories. To offer these individuals some recognition, you are:
Stacey White, Rene Gagnon (Our walking idol is Rene Gagne.  He is on our team.  He walks constantly and has lost an amazing amount of weight and is so much healthier now.), Jeanette Lacroix, Kimberly Shorey, Paul Lesperance, Tricia Young (If it’s not too late, I will submit Tricia Young as my walking idol on Happy Feet team.  She is juggling new job and family life with two small children (and a husband ) and still managing to get a lot of steps in.  Go Tricia go!), Shelley Duplessis-Skouris (I vote for Shelley. She does the walking club and is still out walking beyond the club. She really tries to inspire people to get active!), Liz Egan, Lucie Cresswell (As for our walking Idol, it is Lucie Cresswell. Her steps really are from walking and hiking and she has gone the extra mile during this challenge), Lynne Burnham, Jennifer Lamontagne, Yvan Cyr, Lori Johnson (We would like to nominate Lori Johnson as our “Walking Idol”. Lori has inspired our entire team to “step it up”. She is a true inspiration to all of us.), Melissa Baum, Mike Marotta, Cathy Ward, Natalie Markser, Diane Levesque (I would like to nominate my mom Diane Lévesque for the Walking Idol. She turned 65 in April and on the first week of the challenge she could barely do 5,000 steps a day and now she is our 3rd best walker in our team with an average of 20,000 a day for the last 2 weeks.  She really surprises all of us and she is enjoying the experience.  It showed her and all of us in our family that it doesn’t matter how old or out of shape and overweight you are, if you put the effort into it then anybody can be more active and live more healthy.), Pam Pinder, Deborah Lamming, Xantra Paquette.

Week 7, our final week of the Walking Challenge, we wanted to honour our Team Captains that worked hard to keep their teams up to date with the weekly challenge information. Again, all Team Captains’ names were put into a box and one name drawn. The winner of the Team Captain Appreciation Award was Brigitte Cyr of the team Shoelace Express.

With the finale, we recognized the team that reached the finish line first which was team All About the Steps. This is the second year in a row that All About the Steps reached the “finish line” first. Congratulations!

Our grand prize goes to the individual with the most steps at the end of the challenge. This year the winner was Jeannette Lacroix of the team Belly Busters with almost 2.4 million steps! Congratulations Jeannette!

The top five steppers of this year’s challenge are:

Jeannette Lacroix – Belly Busters
Michael Belanger – Red Hot Chili Steppers
Jo-Anne Chartrand – Cirque de Sore Legs
Robert Frattini – Red Hot Chili Steppers
Diane Spencer – Cirque de Sore Legs

Some interesting tidbits from this year’s challenge:
• The top team stepped 1000 kms less this year over their steps last year
• One participant stepped over 2 million steps – this individual was new to the challenge this year and made significant health changes over the past year
• Diane Spencer was the only participant in the top 5 finishers in the past 2 years
• The committee reported seeing more participants out and about being active this year
• Although we had less teams in 2016, we had the highest number of participants log their steps throughout the challenge
• We had a new team join in Week 4 and made it more than half way through the route.

Thank you all who participated in this year’s challenge and to the business and organizations that supported us.

Special thanks to Algoma Public Health, Brookfield Power, Wesdome Gold Mines, Prodigy Gold Mines, Municipality of Wawa and the Wawa Family Health Team. The Community Challenge Walking Planning Committee is Silvana Dereski, Melissa Terris, Alex Patterson and Nicolas Minardi.


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