McCall Mayor Bob Giles is taking the Mayor’s Walking Challenge to a new level.
The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health program challenges mayors to walk either 5,000 or 10,000 steps a day in October to earn up to $1,000 for their community. In the process, mayors get the health benefit from walking and set a good example about the importance of being physically active.
Giles decided to really challenge himself this year, setting a goal of taking one million steps during the Mayor’s Walking Challenge. He’s expected to reach that goal over the weekend. The challenge ends at 11:59.59 p.m. on October 31.
“A lot of people and friends said ‘Bob, you’re crazy,’ and they are probably right,” Giles said.
Giles needed to average 32,259 steps per day to reach one million steps. He said that takes about six hours a day. Giles, 69, primarily walks three different routes in the city at various times of day. His walks take him past population destinations, including the hospital, city hall, grocery stores, neighborhoods, state parks and schools. Each route is roughly 8,000 steps.
“I run into all kinds of people,” Giles said. “I’ve talked with the kids and teachers at the McCall Outdoor Science School. I also like the quiet time where I can think about mayoral challenges and come up with ideas.”
One of the aspects of the Mayor’s Walking Challenge that Giles enjoys is building relationships with other mayors. This year, 98 mayors are walking and can compare step counts with each other and offer encouragement via a smartphone app that offers a leaderboard, message board and chat function. One of the mayors Giles met through the challenge was former Dietrich Mayor Deborah Moon, who left her mayoral position when she moved to Northern Idaho.
“He’s insane,” Moon said jokingly. “I think Bob is truly dedicated to whatever it is that he is doing. It’s impressive that he set his mind to do it no matter the weather. He puts in his 100 percent, that’s for sure.”
Giles has always been active. He is a former runner who also is an avid road/gravel cyclist. He is a former forest service employee who coaches youth ski racers at Brundage Mountain.
“I think Bob sees the value in people,” Moon said. “It’s important to encourage kids, and when he’s teaching, I think it’s very rewarding for him and it should be.”
Giles said he enjoys seeing photos of other mayors walking with kids and setting a good example.
“I’m proud of my colleagues who get involved with schools,” he said. “Every mayor has different challenges — weather, terrain, personal or their business. This challenge teaches you time management. If you set goals and stay committed, you’ll do it.
“I think the Mayor’s Walking Challenge is awesome. It’s gotten me out of my shell, and I’ve met new people and learned about other mayors. It’s a lot of fun.”
One other benefit from walking one million steps?
“I sleep well. I’m in a better condition for life,” he said.