The Treadmill Challenge

When Environmental Health Administrator Karen Prescott walked on her department's treadmill one afternoon around Thanksgiving last year, she wondered how long she and other Health Department staff could keep the treadmill running if they took turns walking.

This random musing led Prescott to organize a half-marathon "treadmill challenge" for the 12 Environmental Health staff members located in the Church.

"We broke it down into 15-minute increments and had 10 out of the 14 people here participate," Prescott says. "We encouraged everyone to walk at their own pace and we all cheered each other on. The goal was a half-marathon, but we actually ended up completing 16 miles."

Those participating in the challenge were rewarded with a yogurt parfait.

Once the staff at the Church completed their half-marathon, they challenged the 42 staff members in the main Health Department offices at the Harold K. Bengsch Building to complete a full marathon on their treadmill.

"Our challenge had 21 out of the 42 employees housed in the Bengsch building participate for a challenge on a full marathon (26.2 miles). We ended up with a grand total of 40 miles," says InBalance Employee Wellness Coordinator Emily Hegg. "We challenged the WIC employees at Jordan Valley Community Health Center next."

WIC reported 42.3 treadmill miles with 21 participants. The challenge was then kicked to the Finance department in the Busch Building, which logged 35.94 miles with 20 participants. The challenge then made its way out of the City and into the community, with Finance challenging the YMCA's Ward location next.

"This is a great example of how a small idea can grow and really turn into something," Prescott says. "In addition to encouraging healthy habits, the treadmill challenge is also a great way to reinforce the importance of teamwork. We hope the treadmill challenge can continue on in the community."