Hikers, It’s Time to Challenge Yourself!

News and social media is filled with advice on how to walk more, when and where to walk, and why we should walk.  So, we’re doing it.  We’re hitting the fitness tracks, taking to the trails, or walking in social groups.  We’re walking more than ever, so now its time to challenge ourselves!

365 Miles in 365 Days
Sound impossible?  Don’t let the large numbers scare you; this amounts to only 1 mile a day.  Studies show that we typically walk 3-5 miles a day cumulatively with trips to the bathroom, to the car, in the store, at home or at work.  Adding one meaningful powerwalk will be easy.

It’s difficult to determine when and where this challenge began. It appears to have originally started as a running challenge, but walking or hiking could be substituted.  There is no website for the challenge, just various blogs and Facebook pages, so there is no sign-up or official way to keep track of miles.

For beginners try 1 mile per day.  For more of a challenge, go for a timed distance and complete all the miles in the least amount of time possible.  The challenge ends 365 days from when you start, or after 365 miles—whichever comes first.  Create your own blog or Facebook page to show off your success!

52 Hiking Challenge
The program started in 2014 when one woman challenged herself to hike once a week for a year.  Now it is a global movement meant to “inspire and encourage individuals to step outside their comfort zone,” according to their website.

Even though it was initially designed as one hike per week, the challenge is flexible and challengers can walk neighborhoods or urban parks.  The only rules are to hike or walk at least a mile and count only one hike per day.  Some challengers have even completed 52 hikes in less than 52 weeks by hiking multiple times a week.

Sign-up can be done anytime, with the challenge ending 52 weeks from when you start.  This is a free challenge but cool swag bearing the logo can be purchased online.  Visit www.52hikechallenge.com or the 52 Hike Challenge Facebook page to register.

1000 Mile Challenge
Is 365 miles in a year not enough for you?  Then try the 1000 mile challenge.  This is another challenge initially geared towards runners, but hikers and walkers are also encouraged to compete as well.  You can start this challenge anytime and sign-up is free.  However, Premium Members get offers for cool swag and a medal for completing the challenge.  The website allows you to keep track of your miles and there is a Facebook page where you can connect with other challengers.  Visit www.1000milechallenge.com for more details.

Hike Like A Woman
For our female hikers out there, the blog hikelikeawoman.net offers a challenge every May, lasting only a few weeks.  It is not so much about getting out and hiking but it involves things to do along the trail.  Past challenges have included hiking with a friend, picking up litter, hiking in a new area, and hiking to the highest elevation in your area.  Challengers post pictures of them doing the themed challenge of the week and one winner is chosen every week and given free swag. Hike Like A Woman is also on Facebook.

Palmetto Challenge
This challenge is hosted annually by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF) for seven weeks in the spring (usually March to April).  Challengers log in their steps or miles each week and at the end of the seven weeks attend a cook-out where prizes are given to the top teams.

The PCF is an organization that promotes outdoor recreation and one of its main projects is the Palmetto Trail, a 400-plus mile cross-state trail.  However, this challenge does not have to be hiked along the trail but can be miles logged anywhere.  PCF membership is also not required, but encouraged.  This challenge is free but membership fees do apply depending on levels.  Visit www.palmettoconservation.org for details.

SC State Parks Ultimate Outsider
Hike your way to becoming an Ultimate Outsider.  This program is not necessarily a walking or hiking challenge, instead it encourages people to visit all 47 South Carolina state parks. At your first park, purchase the Official Guide to South Carolina State Parks for $2 (or online for $4) and as you visit each park get its corresponding page stamped.  When completed you receive a free Ultimate Outsider T-shirt, and ultimate bragging rights.  This is another challenge that can be started anytime and there is no time limit.  Visit www.southcarolinaparks.com for details.

Deanna Anderson is an avid day or section hiker who is hiking her way to becoming an Ultimate Outsider as well as completing the Palmetto Trail.  She is a published author and a freelance writer for The Sumter Item newspaper and Lakeside Magazine. 


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