Now in their second year, the Sole Mates free community walking club organized by Southwest Health is bringing back the highly popular 100 Miles in 100 Days Community Walking Challenge. Both the club’s walking season and the walking challenge are set to begin Monday, May 20th with one mile and three mile walks beginning at 5:15 pm at Katie’s Garden on the grounds of the Platteville Regional Chamber. The walk, the challenge, and club membership are all free, and everyone is encouraged to participate.
“Walking is an outstanding exercise that offers huge benefits for even short walks on a regular basis,” says Jaime Collins, Sole Mates organizer and Southwest Health Director of Marketing and Communications. “Not only is it something most of us can do but also something that brings added benefits when we do it together as a group. Healthy socializing, after all, is widely proven to add years to life, improve both physical and mental health, and even lower your risk of dementia.”
Sole Mates 100 Miles in 100 Days community walking challenge is exactly what it sounds like. Anyone interested in starting the challenge can begin at virtually any time, however, the May 20th launch event offers a clear starting point and a chance to connect with others. Log sheets will be made available at the launch walk for participants to record their miles throughout the challenge. At the end of the challenge on September 24th, those who have completed and logged 100 miles or more will receive free-of-charge the official 100 Mile Challenge t-shirt.
Collins stresses, “Our walking club is here to make healthy walking easy and as stress free as possible. That’s why Sole Mates club is free of charge and free of judgement, too. So no matter who you are, no matter where you’re from, no matter how fast you walk, and no matter how far you want to go, everyone is always welcome among Sole Mates.”
“If you can walk for just 15 minutes, you can walk with us. And if you want to walk an hour that’s great, too. We will always accommodate all kinds of walkers by tailoring our walks to the needs of whoever shows up. We will split into groups according to pace and distance, and that’s something that makes Sole Mates always a perfect and flexible fit for virtually anyone.”
Similar to last year, the club will walk together every week through the fall, “This year, though, we’ll change up our starting locations to add more variety to our walks,” says Collins. To keep informed of walk locations, happenings, weather cancellations and other news, Collins recommends signing up to receive regular club emails or joining the club’s new Facebook group where news is regularly posted and members can connect and share. “Become a member of Sole Mates, and you’re automatically entered into our challenge,” she says.
For anyone unable to attend the launch event walk, log sheets are available at Southwest Health (go to the reception desk just inside the main blue entrance of the hospital campus at 1400 Eastside Road in Platteville) or for download on Southwest Health’s website at www.southwesthealth.org/walk. For more information on both the Sole Mates walking club and the 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge or to sign up for both, visit the web page noted above or call the Southwest Health Marketing and Communications Department at (608) 342-0995.