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Vol. LXVII, No. 14
July 3, 2015
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Taking Strides
NIH’ers Take a Hike for Fun, Fitness

Walkers’ spirits are high and bumbershoots handy.

Walkers’ spirits are high and bumbershoots handy.

Cloudy skies and drizzle did not dampen the spirits of hundreds of NIH’ers who participated in the 8th annual Take a Hike Day on June 4. Many welcomed the cooler temperatures as they jogged or walked the 3.25-mile perimeter of the NIH campus; others took a hike from Rockledge, Executive Blvd. and other NIH locations.

Take a Hike Day is a fun way to get moving, promote workplace wellness and reduce stress, said Ebony Andrews of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, just before the hike. She encouraged everyone to make exercise a regular routine. “Keep that momentum going and take that energy to family and friends. Walk, run or [grab] a ball—just move!”

After NIAID’s Valerie Lawrence pumped up the crowd by leading an energetic warm-up session on the Bldg. 1 lawn, employees took to the trail all smiles. At water stations set up along the route, staff cheered on walkers and runners and made sure they stayed hydrated.

Many NIH’ers say the hike is a great opportunity to get up from their office chairs and just move around.

“I’m always excited for this hike,” said Liz Quartey, a project assistant with NINDS who works at the Neuroscience Bldg. on Executive Blvd. In recent years, she has come to campus for the hike. “Plus my doctor said I need to move more. This is an opportunity to exercise and remind myself to move more on a regular basis.”

Celena Stoner, a feisty grandma of 3 who has worked in IT at NLM for 26 years, loves to walk regularly. She said she often walks the campus perimeter weeknights after work, when it’s cooler and the traffic is lighter. Then she gets home and walks her dog.

At the starting line, an NHGRI cheerleader prompts enthusiasm. Happy walkers take to the 3.25-mile campus loop, enjoying the exercise and time spent with their colleagues. Dr. Alfred Johnson, director, Office of Research Services, and Ebony Andrews from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, sprightly walk the campus perimeter.
At the starting line, an NHGRI cheerleader prompts enthusiasm.






Happy walkers take to the 3.25-mile campus loop, enjoying the exercise and time spent with their colleagues.





Dr. Alfred Johnson, director, Office of Research Services, and Ebony Andrews from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, sprightly walk the campus perimeter.

Keddy Liu, a contractor with NCBI, ran the loop around campus. Still new to NIH, he said the hike is a great way to socialize and meet new colleagues. “It’s a chance to get physical activity, enjoy nature and mix and mingle with the NIH community,” he said. “I enjoyed meeting people from different ethnicities and age groups. It’s great that the NIH community came together to participate in this.”

Above, NIAID’s Valerie Lawrence leads an energetic warmup session (below, l).

Above, NIAID’s Valerie Lawrence leads an energetic warmup session (below, l).

Since its inception, Take a Hike Day has been NIH’s largest wellness outreach event, with many hundreds of participants annually.

“Not only is Take a Hike Day a chance for NIH to take its own best advice in support of the benefits of physical activity, but this event also fosters overall employee well-being by bringing us together for a great day of exercise and camaraderie,” said Chris Gaines, program manager for wellness and retail services, Division of Amenities and Transportation Services (DATS). “It’s so popular because it appeals to all of us at NIH, whether you walk or run or just come out to support your colleagues.”

Take a Hike Day was co-sponsored by NIH’s Office of Management, Office of Research Services and DATS.

energetic warmup session Noemi Rodriguez, Susan Wiener, Eva Coyne, Melissa Cather, Anisa Sanghrajka, and FNIH president & executive director Dr. Maria Freire. At rear are (from l) Liz Johns, Julie Tune, Cathy Martin, Rob Drucker, Andrea Baruchin, Jessica Jones, Jamie Cooper, Cheryl Melencio and Kathy Guire Peterson. runners leave the starting line first, before the hikers.

Colleagues from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health get ready to walk the campus trail, all of them first-time participants in this event. Up front are (from l) Noemi Rodriguez, Susan Wiener, Eva Coyne, Melissa Cather, Anisa Sanghrajka, and FNIH president & executive director Dr. Maria Freire. At rear are (from l) Liz Johns, Julie Tune, Cathy Martin, Rob Drucker, Andrea Baruchin, Jessica Jones, Jamie Cooper, Cheryl Melencio and Kathy Guire Peterson. At right, runners leave the starting line first, before the hikers.

Photos: Ernie Branson, Bill Branson


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