Fitness Challenge winners show how to walk the walk
Story and photos by Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
“Motivation, dedication and discipline” are the workout ingredients that catapulted TeamWalkaholics into winning the Let’s Get Healthy Fitness Challenge at Grand Canyon University, said Michael Rodriguez, an enrollment counselor and team member.
All of that, and sheer walking. Rodriguez alone logged 2.5 million steps during the May-July competition, garnering first prize in the individual category for men. But he was out-walked by fellow Walkaholic Leanne Hillman, a student contact manager who walked 3.2 million steps and won first place in the individual category for women.
“I was focusing more on weight loss,” Hillman said. “I lost 17 pounds.”
Teammates and Qualifying Center supervisors Nancy Martinez and Maria Moses lost 10 pounds each. Rodriguez shed 14 but said that wasn’t his focus.
If you’re wondering how they find the time to do so much striding, Hillman said it’s not hard if you join gyms, hit the treadmill at 6 a.m. each morning before work, bicycle at lunchtime and swim, walk and lift weights in the evening.
“My family wants to kill me,” Hillman joked.
They were among the several hundred GCU employees who participated in the contest and among those who attended wrap-up events Tuesday morning at the 27th Avenue, Peoria and Tempe offices.
T-shirts were handed out, congratulations shared and enthusiasm ignited for GCU’s Summer Olympics Rio de Janeiro Challenge, which began Monday.
“It’s a great thing to encourage people to eat and be healthy,” said Sandra Killick, a degree progress audit specialist and one of the event coordinators.
“We’re going to keep having challenges throughout the year,” said Ashley Moncavage, benefits analyst and event coordinator.
The second-place team was OAR Speedwagon from 27th Avenue, and SuperTeam Fast, from the Peoria campus, took third. The top team, the Walkaholics, wins a catered lunch, while the top individual walkers, Hillman and Rodriguez, win bikes. The biggest weight-losers have yet to be announced.
The new challenge ends in just four weeks. The same teams from the just completed challenge remain in place, but anyone who wants to participate can join or create a team.
Contact Laurie Merrill at 602-639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.