The Mayor’s Walking Challenge has Helped Him Lose Weight, Stay Active


With scenery like Lake Coeur d’Alene, it’s no wonder that Mayor Steve Widmyer loves to walk in his community.


At one point in early 2018, Steve Widmyer looked down at the scale and didn’t like what he saw.

“You gain two pounds every year for all those years and pretty soon you’re like ‘I need to do something about it,’” he says.

What he did was walk. And walk. And walk some more. And since May of 2018, the Coeur d’Alene mayor has lost a lot of those excess pounds.

Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer

“I got the Fitbit and that challenged me to get active,” Steve says. “I just starting walking and I’m down about 40 pounds. You just don’t do it by walking – I did it with my diet, too.”

Steve took more than 1 million steps during the 2018 Mayor’s Walking Challenge, which was the highest total in the program put on by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. The challenge motivates Idaho mayors to set good examples in their communities by trying to average 10,000 steps per day in October. Mayors who complete the challenge earn $1,000 for their communities.

Last year, Steve split his winnings among three elementary schools and a local rowing club. Each organization received $250.

Steve is competing again this year, once again on pace to walk more than a million steps, more than three times the amount needed to earn the funds.

“I have a lot of fun with it – I’m an accountant by trade and love numbers,” he says. “I normally average about 20,000 to 25,000 steps a day, but for the challenge, I kind of up it a little bit.”

How does Steve get those steps?

For starters, he walks from his house to City Hall, which is about a mile away. He then walks to his other office and the restaurant he owns on the other side of downtown. That’s a loop he makes several times each day.

“I probably get about half of my steps doing that,” says Steve, who also admits to pacing while talking on the phone. “I get the rest of my steps by walking the dog at night or by going to the health club and getting on the treadmill.”

October snow didn’t stop Mayor Steve Widmyer from getting more than 33,000 steps that day.

He’s had some epic step days this month. He visited one of his son’s in Washington D.C. and logged about 50,000 steps walking about 5 miles to and from his son’s home to the Arlington Cemetery. Sightseeing around the nation’s capital added to his steps as well.

Steve, who has lived in Coeur d’Alene for 56 years and is in his sixth year as mayor, loves what the city has to offer, especially “the ability to get outside and do stuff.”

Expect to see Steve outside a bit for the rest of the month during the Mayor’s Walking Challenge.

“I remember last year it would be 9:30 or 10 at night and I’d grab the dog leash and tell my wife ‘I have to go get a couple of miles’ and she’s looking at me kind of funny,” he says. “I let her know the challenge started again and she asked if I was going to do the same thing as last year. I told her ‘Well, I want to be competitive.”

It’s a way to keep those pounds off and set a good example about the importance of physical activity to his community.