Weathering the Elements Run/Walk set for 9/11

It’s being called “Weathering the Elements” not because there will be any inclement weather, but because it’s a unique walk/run celebration for those who’ve overcome or are working on overcoming the difficulty of getting outdoors for some exercise.

First the details. The 3k walk, 5k walk/run will be held on September 11 at the University of Idaho Research and Extension Center, 2105 N. Boyer Avenue. It’s open to the public and all are invited. The cost is $10 for ages 6 to 12, for those over 13 it’s $18. If you’re participating in the ParkRx program, which I’ll describe in a minute, it’s free.

If you’re one of those who likes to walk/run for a t-shirt, this event is for you. Register online at www.kaniksulandtrust.org or pick up registration forms from co-sponsor Bonner General Health as well as at Sandpoint Parks and Recreation office, and Winter Ridge Natural Foods. Keokee Publishing is also a sponsor.

“In a nutshell, Weathering the Elements is an exciting undertaking for our walkers and runners alike as each participant navigates through a number of challenging obstacles created by mother nature,” said event coordinator and Kaniksu Land Trust Outreach Director, Suzanne Tugman.

“Both the 3k and 5k will be on a network of dirt trials that will take you through 80 acres of stunning North Idaho beauty. Though there will be no change in elevation our walkers and runners should anticipate going over and under obstacles or through water depending on which distance is chosen.”

So, you’re thinking, what’s the ParkRx program and why do those participants get in free? It’s actually a simple concept. We all know that most of us could use more exercise, but many of us either plan to do that at some future date, don’t think we’re able or simply ignore the advice. But, what if your healthcare provider actually gave you a prescription for walking?

Back in September of last year, KLT launched the ParkRX program, an adapted version of a national program that originally was used to get people to go to our national parks. Here in Bonner County, seven practitioners were given the responsibility to write prescriptions outlining the duration of the exercise, times per week and level of trail difficulty.

“Each prescription was designed to meet the health goals of the participant. Prescriptions ranged from walking 20 minutes three times a week to walking 10,000 steps five days a week,” Tugman said. “The pilot began with 70 prescriptions and ended with a total of 169 prescriptions.”

KLT found the venues and volunteers led the walks. But, there was a missing factor. Although the volunteers were trained in first aid and CPR they weren’t healthcare professionals. In came BGH and Michelle Sebern, RN, BSN.

Tugman said that the partnership with BGH was a huge benefit, as the KLT volunteers aren’t equipped to handle extremely, or critically ill patients. Sebern has been involved in BGH’s in-house wellness program and saw the advantages of encouraging other nurses to get involved.

“I’m hoping that through a program that includes incentives and rewards that we’ll recruit nurses to become walking leaders,” Sebern said. “High crisis people need to walk, but they need to be able to do it at a pace that’s safe and healthy.”

Tugman agreed. “When we started we had no idea how sick people are. They had no accessibility to trails and understandably had anxiety about being out of their environment.”

As with most programs, it takes a lot of coordination. Routes for the SPOT bus have been adjusted so people can get to the various parks that the walking groups meet. And, as you know the SPOT bus is a free service. There’s no charge to the participants of this program, so naturally, the group is faced with fundraising.

All of the funds raised at Weathering the Elements will go back into the ParkRX program which gives you just one more reason to sign up today! For more information about the ParkRx program you can go online to www.kaniksu.org or call Suzanne Tugman at 208-263-9471.

Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com or 264-4029.