The annual Walk to Tuk challenge is underway, and a few local teams only have steps to go until they reach their goal.
With 14 teams from Hay River and one on the Hay River Reserve, chances are if someone is spotted out for a walk they are tracking their mileage to put toward the program.
Walk to Tuk is held every year by the NWT Recreation and Parks Association to encourage people to get out and stay active.
Schools, community groups and corporations can put together teams, and have from Jan. 4 to Feb. 29 to walk the distance of the Mackenzie River from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk – about 1,800 kilometres.
Teams keep track of their walking minutes and enter them in to the website’s database.
One team from Enterprise, the Enterprise Snowshoes, is in fourth place overall in the challenge. They have collectively walked 1,349 kilometres and are just a little ways past Tsiigehtchic on the map.
A Hay River team put together by staff at Harry Camsell and Princess Alexandra schools has reached 1,169 kilometres, about halfway between Fort Good Hope and Tsiigehtchic.
The Town of Hay River’s recreation department put together a team to make use of the mileage accumulated by seniors who come in for their exercise class.
Dale Loutit, the town’s recreation programmer, said it was an easy choice to merge the program with the existing seniors’ exercise schedule.
“They were already coming to walk here, and it’s easy to keep track of how far they’re going,” said Loutit.
The seniors – or team Walkie Talkie – meet on Mondays and Fridays at the recreation centre to walk laps, and join in some strength training.
Betty Mudry and Marjorie Whiting were getting their steps in on Jan. 22.
“We walk every Monday and Friday anyway,” said Whiting.
She enjoys coming to walk at the recreation centre during the winter.
“It’s great having a place indoors to walk,” she said. “I like to walk outdoors, too, but it’s nice to come here and give ‘er instead of gingerly walking on the ice and worrying about breaking something.”
So far, the Walkie Talkies have put in 2,569 minutes, which works out to about 214 kilometres – almost the distance to Fort Simpson from the start of the Mackenzie River.
Mudry said she was on the team when they made it to Tuktoyaktuk years ago but she doesn’t think the team will make it all the way this year.
“I just think it’s a relaxing way to exercise,” she said. “I’m not too concerned about the kilometres.”
Although there are larger prizes for the teams that complete the whole distance, each participant gets a shirt with the Walk to Tuk logo on it.