Kilgore High School’s Health Science Club hosted a Marathon Challenge sign-up and kick-off event Saturday, Oct. 26 to encourage others to take charge of their fitness.

Participants laced up their running shoes and headed to the track at R.E. St. John Stadium Saturday. Those who joined in began logging steps and walks in their free logbook, incrementally marking off progress toward all 26.2 miles which make up a marathon. Filling up one entire logbook gets you a free entry into the Kilgore Color Dash 5K next March. However, you can fill up as many logbooks as you want.

At the kick-off event, about 30 participants logged 591 laps in total, making 147.75 miles walked, jogged and sprinted between them.

KHS Health Science Club sponsor and coach Cheyenne Kirkpatrick hopes this event inspires more Kilgoreites to get fit (the event this year is open to anyone) and wants the event to grow each year as more people pursue fitness and better health.

“This year we wanted to go larger-scale,” Kirpatrick said, mentioning the 60 runners who took place in last year’s event, which kicked off in February and had the finale 5K in March. While last year’s lead-up walking challenge was only open to KHS students, the Color Dash was open to everyone. This year, both the challenge and the Color Dash are open to anyone who wants to join.

“Last year, we had three generations of one family do the Color Dash. We’re really encouraging everyone to think ‘let’s get fit!’ and to understand the importance of exercise and how important it is to be active. Just walking 20 or 30 minutes a day, how much that can change how you’re doing every day.”

The marathon challenge lasts 22 weeks and Kirkpatrick said if a participant were to walk 1 mile a day, 5 days a week, they could complete more than three logbooks in that time.

 “If we change one person’s life who gets in better shape, then it’s worth it,” Kirkpatrick said, adding people had already expressed interest to her about forming walking groups in their neighborhood.

If you were unable to make it to Saturday’s sign-up event, it’s still possible to participate in the marathon challenge. You can find a logbook by logging on to bit.ly/GetFitKilgore or by emailing Coach Kirkpatrick at ckirkpatrick@kisd.org.

Logbooks will be due March 20, 2020 in order to get free entry into the Color Dash 5K. Participants can start whenever they wish, as long as they log the full 26.2-mile amount, but Kirkpatrick said she hopes people don’t stop at just the marathon limit.

Participants won’t have to go it alone on their walks, either. The KHS Health Science Club will host events during the 22 weeks to allow walkers to join others in having fun and logging some distance.

Saturday, Nov. 16 will be a Puppy Walk at Meadowbrook Park when walkers can bring their four-legged friends to join in on the exercise and make donations to a local animal shelter. Saturday, Dec. 19, will mark another walking event at Kilgore Middle School track and donations to local Angel Trees will be accepted. On Saturday, Jan. 11, at Synergy Park, walkers can stroll through natural scenery and make donations to Helping Hands food pantry.

On Saturday, Feb. 29 and Sunday, March 1, walkers can join sportswriter Jack Stallard as he celebrates his birthday with some laps and collects canned goods for the Kilgore College food pantry.

To learn more, or to contact Coach Kirkpatrick, visit https://sites.google.com/kisd.org/ckirkpatrick/home.

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