Idaho communities are receiving a record $86,500 for projects and programs that encourage physical activity, thanks to the efforts of 99 participants who successfully completed the Mayor’s Walking Challenge. The payout and number of winners are the most in the 10-year history of the annual statewide program offered by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health.

There were 73 mayors who walked at least 10,000 steps per day in October and earned $1,000 for their communities. Two mayors – Crouch’s Trevor Schiefelbein and McCall’s Bob Giles – took more than 1,000,000 steps during the challenge. Mayors who walked at least 5,000 steps per day earned $500 for their communities. More importantly, they promoted the importance of physical activity while doing something that benefitted their own health – walking.

“The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health is excited that the Mayor’s Walking Challenge continues to grow, and Idaho mayors are making a positive difference in their communities just by walking,” said Kendra Witt-Doyle, Executive Director, Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. “Walking is one of the best things a person can do for his or health, and it has been truly inspiring to see so many Idaho mayors out walking in their communities this year.”

This year’s challenge included mayors from 42 of Idaho’s 44 counties. Many mayors took time to visit local schools and walk with students, letting them know how important it is to be physically active every day. Some mayors picked up litter on their walks and spent time meeting with residents while they were out walking and finding out what it’s like to be a pedestrian in their own community.

The Mayor’s Walking Challenge started as a regional program in 2014 and expanded it to a statewide event in 2018. Since its inception, mayors have earned more than $604,000 for their communities. Those funds have contributed to a variety of projects and programs that promote a healthy lifestyle around Idaho, including playgrounds, physical education equipment for schools, walking clubs, amenities at parks, scholarships for youth programs, and more.