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Vol. LXVI, No. 14
July 4, 2014
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Take a Hike
Annual Walk/Fun Run Fosters Fitness

Happy hikers along the 3.25-mile NIH loop NINDS participants sported their own event T-shirts.
Happy hikers along the 3.25-mile NIH loop NINDS participants sported their own event T-shirts.

Hippocrates once said, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” NIH’ers got a healthy dose of it on June 5 during the 7th annual Take a Hike Day.

As the whistle sounded for runners, then walkers, to begin the walk/fun run, storm clouds parted and the sun poked through an overcast sky. This year, some 1,200 employees from nearly every institute and center registered to walk or jog the 3.25-mile loop around the campus perimeter or a route at one of several NIH off-campus locations.

Traveling 3.25 miles on foot is the equivalent of taking about 6,300 steps. But time flies when you’re walking or running with your colleagues; many welcomed the break in their busy day.

“I do the walk every year. I’ve only missed one,” said NCI’s Renee Walker after crossing the finish line. “Glad the weather held out.”

NIDCR’s Ellis Tibbs participated in the hike for the first time. Although he works out regularly, on finishing he said, “The hike was more hilly than I expected. I’m feeling it in my hamstrings.”

Employees supported one another in more ways than one along the trail. Participants could walk or run the route—their choice.
Employees supported one another in more ways than one along the trail.






Participants could walk or run the route—their choice.

Photos: Bill Branson, Ernie Branson, Maggie Bartlett

NIH’ers of all fitness levels participated in the event, which aims to promote a more health-conscious workforce. For colleagues too busy to escape their offices, Tibbs recommended, “Even if you’re not [regularly] active, stretch in your office.”

High spirits were common along the route.
High spirits were common along the route.

Take a Hike Day opened with a warm-up session led by R&W fitness instructor Ana Jenkins. Then throngs of employees took to the path. OD claimed bragging rights for most participants. Several other ICs had a large number of registrants, including NINDS, NCI, NIDA, NIAAA, NIMH and NIAID.

The event carried into the Twittersphere, at #TakeaHikeNIH. Fogarty’s Anna Pruett Ellis tweeted, “Made it all the way around campus, just what I needed before bday cake!” And Harshraj Leuva, an NHLBI exchange scholar, tweeted an image from a pedometer app showing the run would take him about 26 minutes, given his average running time.

Leuva tries to run at least twice a week, about 5 miles at a time. “I am slowly pushing to 15K, and maybe a half marathon too,” he said. He encourages everyone to incorporate physical activity in their daily routine.

“I think physical activity of any kind is very important, in any sport, whether running, biking, rock climbing or dancing,” said Leuva. “It keeps you sharp. When you challenge yourself a little bit, I think you learn to focus.”

Fitness instructor Ana Jenkins warms up participants on the Bldg. 1 lawn.
Fitness instructor Ana Jenkins warms up participants on the Bldg. 1 lawn.

Several ICs sponsored water stations along the walk. Volunteers kept hikers hydrated and cheered them to the finish line. As runners and walkers approached the end, R&W President Randy Schools congratulated them for completing the course.

“The best part of the event is seeing the smiles at the end,” said Schools. “Take a Hike Day allows NIH staff to focus on their fitness, learn about the value of exercise and perhaps meet a new friend.”

Take a Hike Day was co-sponsored by the NIH Office of Management and Office of Research Services, Division of Amenities and Transportation Services.


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