Fort Dodge and Webster County residents will again join the statewide effort to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation when the second annual Start Somewhere Walk takes place Oct. 3.
More than 291,000 Iowans participated in the 2011 walk, which was held as part of Gov. Terry Branstad's Healthiest State Initiative.
Local walk organizers hope to have equal, or more, participants in Fort Dodge than last year's walks around town.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Amber Kastler, Melissa Michehl and Teresa Newman, from left, have their walking shoes ready to go for the Start Somewhere Walk on Oct. 3. The event encourages people to start exercising by taking the first step. For times and locations of events, see www.iowahealthieststate.com
"It's something we can build on," said Teresa Newman, manager of Trinity Regional Medical Center Healthy Living. "We want it to be an annual event, but we also want to have something to build on throughout the year to build up an exercise program so we're not starting over each year."
Last year, 4,866 participants registered to walk in 10 locations throughout Fort Dodge. All walkers took part in a 1K - approximately seven blocks - walk at noon on Oct. 7, 2011. This year, Newman said there will be more times available for the walks to allow them to coincide with the schedules of more people.
"We will have numerous locations again," said Newman. "Last year, everyone in the state walked at noon to try to be part of a record of the most people walking at the same time. This time they will be able to choose whatever works best with their schedule."
The times and locations for most walks have not yet been determined, but a walk will be held at noon on the city square near the Fort Dodge Public Library and at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Fort Dodge Hy-Vee Store, 115 S. 29th St.
"I hope this is met with the same enthusiasm this year as last year," said Amber Kastler, Hy-Vee dietitian. "Everyone was so excited to get out and walk last year."
The Hy-Vee walk will meet near the south entrance of the store and will walk around the outside perimeter of the store.
"We're hoping for another great turnout," said Melissa Michehl, with the Webster County Health Department. "Hopefully we will recruit more people, and we want to get the schools involved."
Walkers can find a local walk or sign up to participate or create a walk by going to www.iowahealthieststate.com.
"We want to have as many businesses and organizations involved as possible," said Newman.