Pedestrian signal on Hwy 10 in Ramsey
CHAMPLIN - An annual effort to get resident active after a long winter is pitting city against city in Hennepin County.
The Step To It Challenge begins on Wednesday. Organizers are hoping that this year, residents will top the more than 600 million steps that were logged last year.
The Spaude Family of Champlin contributed to that total. While some put miles on their cars, the Spaudes put miles on their shoes.
"We just think that it's such a healthy lifestyle," said mom, Lani Spaude.
They walked to the grocery store Tuesday, as part of a day filled with errands.
"The post office is very close. The library is very close," Lani Spaude said.
It's no surprise Lani has been Champlin's top stepper two years in a row.
Dianne Blaydes has been in charge of the challenge for its entire five years span. She says the event is not limited to Hennepin County residents.
"If you have some sincere connection to Hennepin County or one of the communities go ahead and sign up," she insisted.
Twenty-three communities in Hennepin County are competing in this year's challenge. Participants log their steps individually and then those steps are calculated into the community totals.
If you don't like walking, there's a chart on the Step To It website to convert other hobbies into steps.
"You can be gardening or cleaning out your garage, washing your car, playing golf, bowling it all adds up," Blaydes said.
Lani grew up walking. Her husband, Darrik Spaude, didn't. He walks too, but also gardens.
"I love to go out into the park reserve and take pictures," Darrik said.
The Spaude family's steps surpassed the hundreds of thousands last year. Lani walked over one-million-three-hundred thousand alone, but the challenge is designed for anyone. Each individual can set their own goals.
"I would say anything you can do is going to benefit your health," Lani said.
"It's good to get outside and listen to the birds and get fresh air," her son, Arik Spaude said.
And when friends ask the Spaudes why they walk so much, daughter Anika Spaude said, "I say well, because that's just what we do."
The big kick off for the Step To It Challenge is Wednesday at Target Field at noon. Registered participants will get to walk around the concourse and get in 1,500 steps.
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