Six inspired local walkers together cranked out more than 10.5 million steps all in an effort to win Healthy Central Florida’s (HCF) annual Walk90 Challenge, a fun, free contest where participants used an online tool to track their steps for 90 days.
Top walker was Fred Hoffman,of Goldenrod, FL, who walked in the cold and heat during the three-month period covering a distance equal to walking from Orlando to Buffalo, N.Y. He won the grand prize– a free, one-year membership to RDV Sportsplex in Maitland.
The remaining five runners-up won Fitbit Flex wristbands to help track their activity and achieve health goals.
Mr. Hoffman, a local, semi-retired “egg artist”, claimed first place by walking nearly 1,200 miles. In between working a few days a week at a local catering company, Fred carves beautiful, exotic eggs and occasionally shows them in local art shows. He’s been featured in magazines and has shown his work at the prestigious Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival.
First runner up, Mark Berardo, of Orlando, was only 11,000 steps behind Fred and lost 70 pounds during the challenge. Mark invited co-worker Brian Sanders, Winter Park, to join him. Brian lost 27 pounds during the 90-day journey. Mark and Brian work for Entenmann’s bakery outlet, and say that it can be difficult to eat healthy with baked goods so accessible. They challenged and also supported each other as they tried to “outwalk” one another, which drove them to extraordinary lengths.
“It kept me motivated on a daily basis,” said Mark when asked what he liked most about the Walk90 challenge. “Since we have started to walk, we have over 20 friends and family members that have bought the Fitbit and have started an active lifestyle of walking for health.”
HCF is a community-based initiative, founded by the Winter Park Health Foundation and Florida Hospital in an effort to help local communities become the healthiest in the U.S.
The third annual Mayors’ Sole Challenge is set for November 1, 2014 and this will kick off a new Walk90 Challenge. The Mayors’ Sole Challenge is a friendly competition between Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville to see which community can bring out the most walkers.
For information about HCF walking groups and future competitions, visit the HCF website.