ó At 55, Brian Whitlock is like millions of Americans,
getting far too little exercise. But heís ready to do
something about it, pledging to walk 2,963 miles in the next
12 to 15 months.
joke that my wife wants me to get healthy, even if it kills
me," said Whitlock, president of the Idaho Hospital
Association in Boise. "Itís something new. I tend to
get engrossed in my work, and 12 hours later itís time to go
home and you forget to fit in exercise."
is among the more than 300 people who signed up to join Idaho
Republican Rep. Mike Simpson on a virtual cross-country walk
aimed at helping them get physically fit. Most plan to walk at
least 5 miles, or roughly 10,000 steps each day, charting
their progress on a website that will show them moving on a
trail from the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., to
the Idaho State Capitol in Boise.
officially kicked off his "Hike With Mike" challenge
on Wednesday, declaring himself "ready as Iíll ever
be" having lost 72 pounds since November 2014. He now
weighs 203 pounds and is aiming to get down to 190.
did 50 miles this weekend," Simpson, 65, of Idaho Falls,
said in an interview. "The most difficult part about it
is finding the time to do it. Iím going to be in California
and then on a plane all day Friday, so itís going to be
tough for me to get my 10,000 steps. But Iíll get them
who lives in Meridian, said he bought a Garmin fitness tracker
to monitor his steps, calling the device "a great
motivational tool." And he said his strategy over the
next year will be to wake up earlier.
I can get up 30 minutes earlier in the day and get some steps
in and finish the day with steps, I think I can meet my
goal," he said. "There are those of us out there
that just need a little bit of motivation and sometimes that
can be in the form of a challenge."
Collins, 45, of Boise, said she signed up after seeing
newspaper photographs of a trimmed-down Simpson last week. She
said she hadnít seen the congressman in person since last
dramatic difference within that year was inspiring ó and the
way he did it with walking," said Collins, who teaches
English at the College of Western Idaho. "As soon as I
signed up, I got an armband. And Iíve lined up hikes every
day this week, so Iím starting today."
said she hopes that accepting the fitness challenge will get
her outside during the winter months, when sheís less
inclined to exercise. And sheís making plans to pressure her
parents to take up walking with her when she visits them in
Hawaii this summer.
hope is that I can corral my dad into coming," Collins
said. "And itís something I want to share with my kids,
Surber, 47, state advocacy director for Trinity Health, the
national affiliate healthcare organization for the Boise-based
Saint Alphonsus Health System, said she decided to join the
challenge after losing 40 pounds when she started walking
every evening as a way to deal with stress. Now she helps
coordinate a weekly fitness walk/run in Boise that draws an
average of 60 to 80 people every week, called Meet Me Monday.
really do believe in what weíre doing because itís worked
for me," Surber said. "For me, personally, I donít
enjoy going into a gym and sitting at a machine and looking at
a wall or looking at a mirror. I want to be outside. I will
never be a runner, but long-distance walking, I can do
she just bought herself a new pair of Nikes: "Iíve got
my new shoes and I am ready to put some miles on them. Ö Iím
going to do my best. My current average is 11,000 steps a day
and hopefully I will increase that."
a ninth-term congressman and former dentist, said heís
telling those who sign up that the event is not a race, only a
challenge to see whether people can complete the course. Some
participants are teaming up with a partner so they can
participate without walking the entire 2,963 miles.
plans will include an attempt to climb 11,815 feet to the top
of Idahoís Castle Peak in late August, even though heís
not sure he can make it.
is kind of a bucket list thing for me, and weíll see how it
goes," he said. "It can be a dangerous climb unless
youíre a sure-footed mountain goat, which Iím not."
joked that he has not yet disclosed his plans to other members
havenít told my colleagues Iím going to climb Castle
Peak," he said. "Theyíve had to helicopter a
number of people off of that. There are some of my colleagues
who probably want me to climb it."