Maricopa County’s Parks and Recreation Department’s 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge is midway through its three-month program.
“This is the sixth year parks has offered the 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge. Visitors love it because it’s open to all abilities and user groups — hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and horseback riders. It’s also a great motivator for those looking to transition their indoor exercise routines back outdoors,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5, said in a press release.
Local parks include San Tan Mountain Regional Park at 6533 W. Phillips Road in Queen Creek and Usery Mountain Regional Park at 3939 N. Usery Pass Road in Mesa.
While the challenge initially started out as a centennial celebration, it has become an annual program due to popularity. The goal of the program, which began Nov. 1, is to log 100 miles in 100 days.
Last year, 33 of the 247 individuals who completed the challenge logged at least 200 miles. Two of the individuals managed to surpass 600 miles each.
Collectively, those who completed the challenge logged 34,936 miles on Maricopa County trails. That’s 13,697 more miles than was hiked the previous year.
The total distance is just shy of traveling one-and-a-half times around the circumference of the Earth.
“We understand that it’s a personal challenge for park visitors and has become a badge of honor to those who complete it,” Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department Director R.J. Cardin said in the release.
Knowing that it can be somewhat difficult to stay motivated during the holiday season, the department offers a community page on Facebook. Here, participants can share milestones, seek out trail recommendations, post photos and join in on activities.
The page is managed by the department’s interpretive rangers who have also developed fitness hikes to help challenge participants reach their program and personal goals.
“We offer a passport program during the challenge at Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Every week, we explore a new part of the park, starting off with the easier trails and working our way up to the more difficult ones. It’s a great way to meet new hiker friends, watch your fitness level grow and take in Estrella’s breathtaking landscape. And, the icing on the cake, we get to have a celebration when we’re done with the Challenge,” added Ranger Tippy Jackson, Estrella Mountain Regional Park.
Participating in the challenge is simple; rules and trail guides may be obtained by visiting a county park or downloading a brochure at www.maricopacountyparks.net.
Once participants have completed their trek, trail logs and entry forms may be returned to a county park to be eligible for a grand prize drawing of an annual park pass ($85 value) and $25 Nature Center retail voucher (total value not to exceed $110).
The program runs through Monday, Feb. 8. To recognize those who complete the challenge, celebrations have been scheduled at seven of the county’s regional parks for Saturday, March 11.
In addition, everyone who completes the challenge will receive a limited edition T-shirt at the celebration.
For a list of county parks and additional information, visit www.maricopacountyparks.net.