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Healthy Competition Promotes Physical Activity While Supporting Local Nonprofit

May 1, 2018

Some of Team R&M’s 100 milers. R&M had 49 employees reach 100 miles in 2017.

In the architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) industry, spring doesn’t just herald the busy construction season. It’s also time to start racking up the miles for the annual 100 Miles in May Challenge.

Each May, R&M CONSULTANTS, INC. (R&M) issues a wellness challenge to their employees and other A/E/C firms to log 100 miles during the month. Participants log miles through a variety of physical activities, including walking, running, biking, softball, yardwork and more.

For many R&M employees the friendly competition jump starts the summer season and provides motivation to be more active.

“I enjoy seeing how my hobbies outside of work add up and where I fall compared to others,” said Robert Colles, EIT, a Staff Engineer with R&M who participated for the first time last year. “If I notice I’m barely behind another, I’ll push for some extra miles in the last week to see if I can close the gap. Seeing other teams total mileage is also a good motivator for pushing further/longer.”

R&M initially started the challenge as an internal event in 2010 as a way to encourage physical activity. In 2013, the firm partnered with Healthy Futures, a local non-profit that promotes a healthy lifestyle for Alaska’s youth, and invited other A/E/C firms to participate, creating a fundraiser benefitting the organization. For every mile logged by an employee, R&M donates $0.25 to Healthy Futures. Each participating firm also pledges to donate a certain amount for each mile logged by their employees. Over the last five years, participating A/E/C firms and agencies have logged more than 245,000 miles and raised nearly $47,000 for Healthy Futures.

“100 Miles in May was something our already active staff looked forward to each year to kick-start their activity heading into summer, and when we expanded it in 2013 to include other firms within our industry, it really took off because it added the element of competition with other firms,” said Andrea Story, CPSM, R&M’s Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. “It truly has become a part of our culture at R&M. I love it because it promotes activity within our staff and at the same time, benefits a great community organization in Healthy Futures.”

Coffman Engineers, another local engineering firm, has participated in the challenge every year since the partnership with Healthy Futures.

A few Coffman Engineers’ employees racking up miles by mountain biking during the 100 Miles in May Challenge.

“Coffman continues to join forces with others in the design community to support Healthy Futures for Alaskans youth,” said Tom Looney, General Manager and Principal of Coffman Engineers. “The good-natured competition between teams make this a lot of fun, and the individual participants all benefit from the increased activity to kick-start their summer activity. Overall, everyone is a winner in this program.”

In 2017, thanks to a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, Healthy Futures was able to develop an online system (versus tracking via spreadsheets in the past), making it easier to track mileage and have more teams communitywide participate. Participants could now log miles from anywhere with web access and track their status on group, category and statewide leaderboards. That year nearly 1,400 individuals participated from a range of industries, logging more than 168,000 miles. This year, 58 teams are signed up to participate so far.

Getting Involved

To participate or find out more about how you and your organization can get involved with the 100 Miles in May Challenge and help support Healthy Futures empower Alaska’s youth to build the habit of daily physical activity, visit http://healthyfuturesak.org/get_involved/100milesmay or email info@healthyfuturesak.org.

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