Last updated: March 25. 2014 10:27AM - 764 Views

Kevin Spradlin | Richmond County Daily JournalMany RichmondFit participants are keeping track of their steps by attaching a pedometer to their shoelaces or belt loop.
Kevin Spradlin | Richmond County Daily JournalMany RichmondFit participants are keeping track of their steps by attaching a pedometer to their shoelaces or belt loop.
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By Kevin Spradlin


It turns out that RichmondFit is about more than logging steps. It’s about saving animals.

That might be a stretch of the original goal of the corporate team challenge coordinated by by the First in Health Richmond County 2020 Task Force but it rings true just the same.

Tammy Kirkley, city clerk for Hamlet city government, lives about two miles from City Hall and decided to walk home and back to the office on a recent Friday afternoon. It could become a trend, Kirkley said.

“On the walk back from lunch, a man who had found a lost dog stopped me to ask if I recognized the dog, and in an attempt to help find the owner, I took a photo of the dog and put it on (Facebook) and the owner was found that same day!”

Between March 3 and April 30, RichmondFit offers a team-oriented challenge in which groups from local businesses are judged solely on the average number of steps per team member. A wide variety of everyday activities can be converted into steps.

Kirkley, one of about 20 members of her RichmondFit team, didn’t indicate how many steps it took to get from work to home and back but she surely logged her activity on richmondfit.org.

It’s one reason that two government offices hold two of the top four spots in the team challenge. Marston-based Unimin Corporation has a solid lead on the No. 1 spot in the team standings with an average of 358,977 steps per team member. Discovery Place KIDS is second (161,009), followed by the city of Hamlet (152,388) and Richmond County government (145,528).

“Collectively, as a unit, if we have 20 people stepping, of course we’re going to have more steps,” Kirkley said.

It helps to have more teammates so long as each teammate is participating. Otherwise, the team’s average number of steps per person drops with each person who sits on the sidelines.

“We’re getting it through walking … swimming, aerobic workouts, cycling,” Kirkley said. “Several of us got together one day last week. We did some power-walking for about an hour one day after work.”

While group sessions help to motivate, RichmondFit offers “a friendly competition, so that doesn’t hurt, either.”

Kirkley said she had provided an informal rough estimate of the number of steps she took throughout a normal day at work. Then she strapped on a pedometer.

“I have found it to be a pleasant surprise, for the numbers were much higher than I thought they’d be,” she said.

Last week, 140 individuals — a little more than one-third of the 406 people registered — logged activity from last Tuesday through late Monday morning. Since the kickoff event March 3, participants have logged 23,205,677 steps — converted to 10,314 miles, or 0.41 trips around the globe.

Little changed in the team standings in the past week. Richmond County government and the city of Hamlet switched spots while the Daily Journal (119,603) moved up from sixth to fifth place.

Walmart stood in sixth place, followed by Fidelity Bank (99,904), Rockingham Housing Authority (92,502), FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital (77,087) and Richmond County Schools (63,534).

Walking leisurely, at a quick pace or power-walking took up three of the top four favorite activities among registered users. Light housework, converted into steps by an online calculator at richmondfit.org, was third and playing with children was fifth.

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