By Amanda Schwarze
Area residents racked up millions of steps in the 2012 Hennepin County Step to it Challenge.
The challenge is a four-week event that pits communities against each other in a friendly competition to encourage active lifestyles. The cities of Independence, Maple Plain, Minnetonka Beach and Orono were among 22 communities in the county that participated in the challenge.
During the challenge, which ended May 20, participants keep track of the number the steps they take each day. Steps for activities such as walking or running may be monitored using a pedometer. Other activities such as yoga, dancing, basketball and swimming may be converted into steps using a chart that was posted on the challenge’s website.
The person in each community who accumulated the most steps over the course of the challenge is recognized and will receive a pair of Twins tickets. In Maple Plain, the person with the most stepped came up a little short of 2 million steps with a total of 1,916,821. The highest stepper in Independence was close behind with a total of 1,210,510 steps. Orono’s highest stepper had just more than 1 million steps with 1,034,405 and in Minnetonka Beach the highest stepper logged 378,669 steps. Out of all 23 participating communities, the most overall steps came from a Plymouth resident who logged 2,420,000 steps over the four weeks of challenge.
Independence had a strong showing in the Most Active City – Highest Average Steps Per Participant category. The city came in second with an average of 334,038 steps per participant. The city of Rogers came in first with an average of 403,362. Maple Plain finished in 12th place with an average of 260,721 steps; Orono came in at 14th place with an average of 246,902 and Minnetonka Beach came in at 22nd place with an average of 171,103 steps.
Brooklyn Park is proving to be a powerhouse in the challenge as its residents earned first place in the Most Active City – Most Overall Steps category for the fourth consecutive year. Due in large part to smaller populations, the local cities finished in the bottom half of the category. Orono finished in 16th place with 11,851,297 steps; Maple Plain was right behind Orono in 17th place with 11,221,637 steps; Independence finished in 20th place with 6,747,578 steps and Minnetonka Beach came in at 23rd place with 1,882,138 steps (while there were just 22 communities competing, county residents who lived in a city that was not participating in the challenge had the option of competing together as a 23rd group).