Maricopa County parks challenges people to 100 miles in 100 days

LOGO Maricopa Parks 100 Miles Challenge

The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department will roll out its annual 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge on Sunday, Nov. 1.

“This is the fifth year we’ve offered the 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge. Our visitors love it because it’s open to all user groups — hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and horseback riders,” R.J. Cardin, director of the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department, said in a press release.

“While the challenge initially started out as a Centennial celebration, we’ve noticed that it’s become a personal challenge to our visitors. The goal of the program is to log 100 miles in 100 days. However, last year, we had 15 individuals hike more than 200 miles, four individuals hike more than 300 miles and one individual who hiked 554 miles! Collectively, those who completed the challenge logged 21,239 miles. To put things into perspective, Challenge team members hiked 85 percent of the way around the circumference of the Earth,” Mr. Cardin added.

Some do it for the health benefits and as a form of physical therapy, while others have formed teams and use it as a social outing to connect with friends and family, according to the release.

Last year, the department launched a community page on Facebook to give those who participate in the challenge a place to share milestones, seek out trail recommendations, post photos and join in on fun activities. The page now has more than 350 fans and continues to grow.

Participating in the challenge is simple; rules and trail guides may be obtained by visiting a county park or downloading a brochure at www.maricopa.gov/parks on Nov. 1. 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).

In the far east Valley, the closest Maricopa County parks are San Tan Mountain Regional Park, 6533 W. Phillips Road in Queen Creek, and Usery Mountain Park, 3939 N. Usery Pass Road in Mesa.

So lace up those hiking boots or running shoes, dust off the mountain bikes and saddle up those horses because the 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge begins on Nov. 1. 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, Feb. 27. 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 the department website.

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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