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Walk KS teams celebrate midpoint of 'journey'
new slt Walk-KS
Donna Krug from the Barton County Extension, left, shares some jicama (a Mexican root vegetable) during the Walk Kansas Pep Rally, Wednesday in the courthouse square. Also pictured are Mary Kummer and Shirley Detter, right, two members of the Sunflower Friends Walk Kansas team. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

On March 15, hundreds of teams set off on journeys to “walk across Kansas,” at least symbolically. Now half-way through the eight-week Walk Kansas fitness challenge, Barton County teams met Wednesday for a pep rally in the courthouse square.

Donna Krug from the Barton County Extension and Garet Fitzpatrick from the Great Bend Recreation Commission led the rally, bringing water, healthy snacks and encouragement to local Walk Kansas team members.

“Some of you have done Walk Kansas for a number of years,” Krug said. It started as a spring event where six-person teams kept track of the time spent walking. Collectively, they tried to walk the length of the state. Some teams went much further, so now teams can choose one of three challenges: Walk 423 miles across the state, 846 miles across and back, or 1,200 miles around the perimeter.

The pep rally was held at noon, with time after for people to log a few miles. Someone asked how many laps around the courthouse square would equal one mile.
No one was sure, but Krug said the Walk Kansas program has simplified that by asking people to keep track of how many minutes that walk. Every 15 minutes counts as one mile. Other exercise counts, too.
“I rode my bike over,” Krug said, adding 45 minutes digging in a garden counts as three miles.

While more than 300 Barton County residents are on teams, about 30 were able to attend the pep rally. Everyone received a copy of  the book “Walking 4 Wellness - Four Simple Steps to Achieve Your Best Body and Life,”  and many won water bottles, fitness DVDs or other prizes in a drawing.

Krug shared some advice from the book, such as this quote: “The best exercise to help you lose weight or get in shape is the one you will do. Consistency is the key to success.” And she invited anyone who would like to help plan next year’s Walk Kansas to contact her at the Extension Office or Fitzpatrick at the Rec Commission. Several people at the rally said they’d like to see a program for kids in 2016.