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Vol. LXII, No. 12
June 11, 2010
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‘Take a Hike Day,’ Take 3
For Health Reasons, NIH’ers Walk Off The Job


Smith dedicated a piece to his wife Pamela, saying, “She is a jewel, a great gift, and she stood by me through this cancer.” Smith dedicated a piece to his wife Pamela, saying, “She is a jewel, a great gift, and she stood by me through this cancer.”

Above, l:
Hundreds walk off the job for the 3rd annual NIH Take a Hike Day.

Above, r:
Lonnie Lisle (second from l) of NIDCD accepts her institute’s second straight HealthierFeds trophy. Handing out the honors are (from l) NIH deputy director Dr. Raynard Kington; Diane Baker, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins’s wife; and ORS director Dr. Alfred Johnson.

Sunny blue skies with no rain in sight. Hundreds of employees showing off institute/center colors in theme T-shirts. Runners so revved they jumped the starting whistle. That was the scene May 20 in front of Bldg. 1 for NIH’s 3rd annual Take a Hike Day.

“By now we all should know research has proven that 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day leads to a healthier person,” said Dr. Alfred Johnson, director of the Office of Research Services whose Division of Amenities and Transportation Services coordinates the event. “We all want to be healthier, right?”

Designed to get employees into the habit of incorporating physical fitness into their daily lives, the walk/fun run is just one component of the NIH HealthierFeds Initiative, which touts four elements: “Be physically active every day, eat a nutritious diet, get preventive screenings and make healthy choices.”

An estimated 1,645 people registered online to take part in the 3.1-mile loop around the perimeter of the Bethesda campus. [Technically, the perimeter’s about 2.8 miles, but if you start from Bldg. 1, that adds an extra 0.3 mile to the total.] Participants could opt to walk or run the distance.

Employees take part in warm-up exercises before heading out for main event.
Employees take part in warm-up exercises before heading out for main event.

Tom Hayden, DATS director, estimates the number who showed up far outpaced the number who registered. “[We had] at least that many plus folks who just participated and had not otherwise registered through the web site. Also, there were numerous volunteers who made the day go seamlessly.”

Also offering encouraging remarks was NIH deputy director Dr. Raynard Kington. Along with Diane Baker, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins’s wife, Kington congratulated participants, handed out prizes and signaled the start-offs.

Nabbing the overall “NIH HealthierFeds-President’s Challenge” trophy was Team NIDCD, for the second year running. They racked up the most points in 2009’s 6-week fitness contest.

For highest percentage of employees to register, top honors went to (in the small-IC category) NCCAM followed by NCMHD and FIC. In the large-IC category, NIMH won first place, followed by CIT and OD.

Among institute/center leadership, NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady, for one, led by healthy example. “It was a great day for a run,” she said afterwards. “We had a good turnout for NINR and everyone seemed to enjoy it.”

Among large ICs, NIMH Executive Officer Patrick Shirdon (second from r) collected his institute’s 1st place trophy for registering the greatest percentage of employees to “Take a Hike.” Janice Crum accepts CIT’s award for 2nd place. Kington joked that he had to award himself too, as the Office of the Director took 3rd place in the category.

At left above, among large ICs, NIMH Executive Officer Patrick Shirdon (second from r) collected his institute’s 1st place trophy for registering the greatest percentage of employees to “Take a Hike.” Above at right, Janice Crum accepts CIT’s award for 2nd place. Kington joked that he had to award himself too, as the Office of the Director took 3rd place in the category.

Right, among small ICs, the trophy for highest percentage of registrants went to NCCAM (Pamela Washington accepting) for first place.

At left below, NCMHD (Dr. Derrick Tabor accepting) took 2nd place. Below at right, FIC (Executive Officer Tim Tosten accepting) collected 3rd.

Among small ICs, the trophy for highest percentage of registrants went to NCCAM (Pamela Washington accepting) for first place.
NCMHD (Dr. Derrick Tabor accepting) took 2nd place. FIC (Executive Officer Tim Tosten accepting) collected 3rd.

The perimeter trail, paved in blacktop in grassy areas, wound clockwise beginning from the Wilson Ln. gate opening. Interesting snatches of conversation could be overheard from walkers at various stages along the path.

Early on: “Hey, we should just keep walking into Bethesda and get some lunch.” “There oughta be a passing lane.” At about the quarter-mile point: “I wonder, can I take the Perimeter Shuttle from here?”

At the unofficial halfway mark: “Maybe we’ll just break off here and head for the cafeteria.” “Oooh, there’s a taxi stand.”

At the second or third water stop: “Oh! I think they’re selling ice cream at this one!”

And finally, coming in on the homestretch, at the start of a low incline near Rockville Pike and Cedar Ln.: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

Despite the humorous and good-natured rumbling among the masses, the round-trip jaunt—which was cosponsored by the Office of Management and the R&W Association and takes the better part of an hour to complete—drew nothing but praise… and perspiration.—

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