Partners in Mingo, Pike, McDowell, Boone and Logan County invite you to join the first annual Hatfield and McCoy Healthy Feud: Walk 100 Miles in 100 Days. The program Walk 100 Miles in 100 Days® was originally introduced by The Wellness Program at WVU Hospitals, and has been getting over 5,000 people annually out and walking for over 20 years, according to Adam Flack, Executive Director at West Virginia on the Move.
“Adding a mile of sustained walking a day can greatly reduce one’s risk of future Heart Attack and Coronary Artery Disease. With 100 days of participation, most people find the habit easy to keep after the program’s end. We are excited to expand this program to other counties and states,” Flack said.
Now, the program has moved into Hatfield and McCoy Country—adding a new twist to the age-old story.
“This is a great opportunity to involve the rich history of the Hatfields and McCoys when it comes to getting fit in West Virginia and Kentucky,” said Alexis Batausa, who is a Health and Wellness Promoter at the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition. “This program will help bring us all together to become more active in our communities—- and to compete in a healthy way.”
Starting after Labor Day, on Sept. 9th, teams will begin tracking their miles for 100 days, or until Dec. 17th. Participants will strive to walk a mile a day, totaling 100 miles. During this time, communities will see that the feud can drive families, friends, and businesses to embrace healthy competition among counties.
David Hatfield, president of the Tug Valley Road Runners Club and also a descendent of the infamous Hatfields, said that he thinks this is a great opportunity to connect heritage to health.
“If you take a look at our history when the Scottish/Irish settlers began moving here in the 1700s, they had rugged terrain to settle. It took a special person to stay in a place like this— to grow crops, hunt game, etc. To survive this environment, and lead a normal life with what we have here— it just was a tough existence,” Hatfield said. “I think if you want to become as tough as the Hatfields and McCoys, you should do the 100 day challenge.”
Roger Ford, Chairman of Sustainable Pike County and a descendent of the legendary McCoy clan, had similar thoughts to Hatfield’s’.
“The idea of a ‘healthy feud’ will challenge participants to connect the history of the region with getting healthy. Our ancestors, on both sides of the Tug Fork, settled this region with true grit and determination. The region was rugged and it took a person who was physically fit to walk the hills here. They grew their own crops—growing corn and other staples on hillside farms—and carved out a better life here in the mountains. I’d say that the new ‘healthy feud’ will unite the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, and rally others in our area, to succeed in walking 100 miles in 100 days.”
The team’s average mileage will be tracked on an online map of the Appalachian Trail. Different routes will be mapped out, and it will show progress throughout the program. For example, for those aiming to walk 100 miles, on a map they will be walking to about Bland County, Va. For more competitive teams that will be amassing more total miles, they can walk as far as New York (600 miles) or further north towards Maine.
U.S Senator Joe Manchin, said that as West Virginia’s former Governor and now as a U.S. Senator that he “encourages fellow West Virginians to lead healthy lifestyles – to eat right, exercise regularly and make smart choices.”
“I am very pleased that this friendly walking competition is coming to southern West Virginia,” Senator Manchin said. “Anytime that you bring culture and outdoor recreation together, while also promoting team development and community fun, it is definitely a win-win. Have fun and start walking!”
On Sept. 2nd, a week before the program starts, Pikeville will be hosting the Hatfield and McCoy Heritage Festival, which will feature a Ruff and Tuff, Cuss obstacle course. Patrece Beverly, the Health Education Coordinator of the Pike County Health Department said, “The festival will be a great way for people to kick off the program, and to get excited for the healthy feud.”
However, Beverly said that even if you’re not participating in the Hatfield and McCoy heritage festival’s obstacle race in Pikeville, but still want to try your luck at a fitness event this fall, you should still try the Hatfield and McCoy “100 miles in 100 days healthy feud challenge.”
“It’s a great way to start getting your recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity and it doesn’t hurt to throw in some friendly competition. You may be literally walking in the footsteps of some Mingo/Pike County legends,” Beverly said.
A minimum of 5 and a maximum of 20 people are suggested to form a team for the competition. Teams must register by Friday, September 6th. Registration forms can be found at participating county agencies, or you can register online by sending an email to email@example.com including your team name, team captain and the team captain’s email address. Instructions for online registration will be emailed back to you. At the end of the program, once each individual has completed their 100 miles, they can receive a commemorative t-shirt for only $6.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky also supports the 1st Annual Hatfield & McCoy: A Healthy Feud, and said “it will be a great competition.”
“It is one in which I know Kentuckians — and our rival parties in West Virginia — will want to participate. Walking 100 miles (four times the length of the Big Sandy) in 100 days is a great goal. Good luck and get moving,” said Representative Rand Paul.
For questions, or to become part of the healthy feud, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 304-235-3400 or visit www.mingodiabetes.com or http://www.sustainablepikecounty.com/.