Hundreds Say Yes To 100-Miler

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More than one hundred participants kicked off the Roanoke 100 Miler challenge with a one mile walk from Wasena Park.
More than one hundred participants kicked off the Roanoke 100 Miler challenge with a one mile walk from Wasena Park.

by Gene Marrano

It’s not a resolution, as in New Year’s resolution, but hopefully a revolution in the way people take care of themselves physically – and in the way they view Roanoke’s outdoor amenities. That’s the theory anyway behind Roanoke City Parks and Recreation’s “Roanoke 100 Miler,” which got off to a rousing start last weekend with a one mile walk on the Roanoke River Greenway from Wasena Park to the loop at Vic Thomas Park and back.

Outdoor Events Specialist Joe Hanning says the 100 Miler concept – walk, run, hike, etc. -100 miles in about 100 days between January 7 and April 15 – “has been done before. We’re always looking for ways to get people active in the wintertime. The problem is it’s so much easier just to sit on the couch.”

Those who sign up for the 100 Miler challenge – more than 700 had as of earlier this week – can do “anything human-powered” to reach that goal, even using a treadmill at home, although the intent was really to get people outdoors. At an average of one mile a day, Hanning said it’s an achievable goal, “as long as there’s no motors involved,” he adds.

Originally they thought about restricting the miles that are accumulated (participants can log their miles on line at roanoke100miler.com) but since it is winter they decided to allow indoor mileage. “[But] we’d like you to go outside and experience our trails and greenways,” noted Hanning. You can even paddle for your mileage, possibly in a canoe or kayak at Carvins Cove.

That apparently has worked for many. Two people told Hanning that their one-mile kickoff jaunt was the first time they had ever been on the Roanoke River Greenway – despite the fact they both lived nearby. One person even signed up their dog for the 100 Miler.

A mascot called “Active Andy” (those who signed up for $19 will get a shirt; there’s also a $9 no t-shirt fee) will send an e-mail once a week to participants that will lead participants back to a blog. “It could [include] anything like fitness tips to places to get outside,” said Hanning. Weekly prizes given randomly to 100-milers will also help keep people motivated.

Hanning hopes that those involved with Roanoke 100 Miler will stay active outdoors as the challenge ends and the weather warms up. Parks and Recreation will sponsor a “six legged 6K” this summer, an event Hanning hopes to see novice runners attempt.

“We’ve dubbed this the New Year’s Revolution,” said Hanning, “we’re going to help people through the hundred miles so they don’t drop off. People drop out of resolutions.” Hanning said the goal at Parks and Recreation is to get at least one hundred people involved when they promote a special event – so the 700 and counting who have signed up so far for the 100 Miler is a pleasant surprise.

“Isn’t that amazing? “asks Hanning. Many of those signees come from families, and “tons” of husband-wife combos. While they were expecting several dozen to show up for the one-mile kickoff last weekend at Wasena Park, around 150 took part instead. There’s still time to sign up for the 100-Miler challenge, but the registration deadline is this Saturday (Jan. 14).

See roanoke100miler.com for more information and to register.