This year, the Kermode Friendship Society is challenging staff to take a virtual walk across Canada in an effort to encourage employees to add more physical activity into their workday.
The competition started on Jan. 12, and within the first two weeks, 23 participants logged 856,935 steps across B.C. It will take 7,428 km to walk the entire route across the continent.
“The last count we made it to Hinton, Alberta,” said Tracy Spencer who helped organize this year’s event. “Roughly, that’s one million, five hundred and eleven thousand steps.”
The group-centered walk started when Spencer was approached by the Kermode Friendship Society for a new fitness idea, one different from previous ‘Biggest Loser’ competitions, which also measured success based on the amount of weight and inches lost.
After some research, they discovered walking was a great way to encourage living a healthier, active lifestyle.
To collect the steps, some members of the society walk together in groups, but others who are shying away from the snow can participate by counting their steps at the gym.
“I’m always constantly checking my Fitbit to make sure I’m getting my ten-thousand steps,” she said. “If I don’t get there, I make sure I do a couple laps around the building.”
Since the challenge started, Spencer said there has been an increase in participation from last year.
“More people are interested in it,” she said. “They can see the steps on the map, and I send them an email every week to update them on their progress.”
On Fridays, the steps are gathered from participating Kermode departments and totalled by Spencer, who then marks the progress on a map of Canada posted in the Society’s Main building.
This way, members can easily see their progress, reach milestones, and visit virtual landmarks.
“It’s a fun challenge for everyone, and people are helping and motivating each other,” Spencer said.
The step count will continue until the Kermode Friendship Society reaches their destination goal in St. John’s, N.L., a whopping 7,409-kilometres along the Trans-Canada Highway.
But that’s not necessarily the end of the challenge.
If the Society meets their goal before June 21, National Aboriginal Day, they will continue on a new path.
“We could go to the United States I guess, maybe even Mexico,” Spencer said. “We’ll see how far we get!”