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Vol. LX, No. 11
May 30, 2008
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NIH Works Up a Sweat at First ‘Take a Hike Day’


  ORS director Dr. Alfred Johnson (c) is among hundreds of NIH’ers to ‘Take a Hike.’  
  ORS director Dr. Alfred Johnson (c) is among hundreds of NIH’ers to ‘Take a Hike.’  
Almost 2,000 NIH employees and contractors participated in the first annual NIH Take a Hike Day, a non-competitive walk or fun run on May 6. The NIH Office of Management— in partnership with the ORS Division of Amenities and Transportation Services and the Clinical Center—coordinated the event, which was held in conjunction with the 2008 National President’s Challenge and the HealthierFeds initiative.

The first 1,000 employees to register online received a commemorative “Take a Hike Day” T-shirt. A yoga warm-up on the lawn of Bldg. 1 drew a crowd throughout the morning.

Melissa Johnson, executive director of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, provided opening remarks to start the event. Runners left first, followed by walkers. The group proceeded down Wilson Drive to the NIH perimeter pedestrian pathway and circled the campus one time, a distance of 3.25 miles.

Hargro is under the tutelage of Terry Bowers, a certified personal trainer who has been in the business for 25 years. Hargro is under the tutelage of Terry Bowers, a certified personal trainer who has been in the business for 25 years.

Left: On hand at the event were (from l) Melissa Johnson, president of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness; Dr. Alfred Johnson, director of ORS; and Colleen Barros, deputy director for management at NIH.

Right: Participants head off to the starting line.

Joe Hendrey and Kathy Herring of the CC volunteer at the event. Water distribution stations were dotted along the route.
Joe Hendrey and Kathy Herring of the CC volunteer at the event. Water distribution stations were dotted along the route.
Members of the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club rode behind the walkers to sweep the route and make sure that no one experienced problems along the way. A cadre of volunteers helped direct traffic and cheered participants as they reached the finish line.

Keith Ball, an ORS health physicist, so enjoyed the occasion that he wrote a brief poem that concluded:

Well, we did not finish last
Nor did we finish fast
But we all sure had a blast
And no one ended up in a cast.

A day after the hike, scads of NIH’ers continued to walk and jog the perimeter sidewalk at midday, suggesting that the event may have prompted behavioral changes. One man, fully dressed in work attire, bemusedly slalomed the footpath, traversing its width with tiny steps as more conventional trail users passed him by. If that’s what it takes to stay fit, hey, go for it.

National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities staff warm up for the walk. Shown are (from l, first row): Donna Brooks, Ana Kuchilla, Victoria Purcell, Idalia Sanchez, Camille Peake. In second row are (from l) Lucia Biederman and Crystal Coleman. Another group stretches on the lawn between Paul Rogers plaza and Bldg. 1 prior to the walk/run.

At left, National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities staff warm up for the walk. Shown are (from l, first row): Donna Brooks, Ana Kuchilla, Victoria Purcell, Idalia Sanchez, Camille Peake. In second row are (from l) Lucia Biederman and Crystal Coleman. At right, another group stretches on the lawn between Paul Rogers plaza and Bldg. 1 prior to the walk/run.

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