100 Miles in 100 Days challenge kicks off
The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department recently announced its 100 Miles in 100 Days challenge.
The challenge kicked off Nov.1 and will run until Feb. 8, 2014.
Participants must visit at least three parks in the county’s park system, and they can hike 100 miles, horseback ride 200 miles or mountain bike 300 miles, according to the county’s website.
Those who complete the challenge will have the chance to win the grand prize drawing of an annual pass and a $25 Nature Center retail voucher.
The challenge initially began as a way to celebrate Arizona’s centennial and “from there it just kind of took off,” said Dawna Taylor, public information officer for the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department.
The purpose of the challenge is twofold, she said. Not only does it provide an opportunity for park visitors to engage in fitness activity, but it also requires them to try something new.
“They find one park that they like or they find a trail they like, and they never really branch out and experience the rest of the park system.”
By visiting various parks, visitors will also be able to experience each park’s unique desert landscape, Taylor said.
In previous years, the challenge focused on hiking; however, the department is attempting to accommodate three user groups this year.
“We’re finding that our mountain bikers and our equestrian users also wanted to participate, so we changed the challenge to include more miles for them since they’re not doing it on foot,” she said.
In addition, participants can select two modes of activity; however, 75 percent of the miles must come from one primary mode and 25 percent from another, she said.
Participants can also substitute one of the parks for The Maricopa Trail — a vast trail system that will eventually connect each of the parks together. Although the trail is only partially completed, several segments in the West Valley are open, Taylor said.
To view trail segments and download a map, visit www.maricopa.gov/parks/maricopatrail.
And if participants are not sure how to get started, the department has posted a sample trail guide on its website. It is a “starting point and then you make it your own,” she said.
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Clint Hickman, R-District 4, will be at the White Tanks Sunday to participate in the challenge.
Hickman is inviting the park’s surrounding community and members from Luke Air Force Base to join him on the hike, according to a press release.
“I feel like our parks are an underutilized resource that many of our residents don’t even know about,” he said. “This is the best time of year to be out and about in Arizona.”
In addition, Sunday is also National Take a Hike Day. The county will be waiving the day-use park entry fee at all of its parks.
“We are trying to encourage them to come in at this time and start their challenge,” Taylor said. “If they are already participating in the challenge, it would be a great way to explore another park.”
For information about the challenge and to download an entry form and view a complete list of rules and regulations, visit www.maricopa.gov/parks.
Frances Torrez can be reached by email at email@example.com.