Special to The Lake Report
Two teams, Pfinally Pfeeling Pfine and Notty People, have been jockeying for first place in the NOTL Step Challenge, and their prolific totals are one reason the town doubled the event’s goal to 40 million steps.
Cornerstone Community Church pastor Kevin Bayne and his family’s Pfinally Pfeeling Pfine team were leading as of Wednesday with 2,035,395 steps logged in the month-long challenge.
Notty People were right on their heels, though, with 1,958,213 and counting.
The squad calling itself We’re Small But Active was third with just over 1.7 million steps.
“My wife and our boys are really competitive, so they have really upped their ‘walking the dog game,’ ” Bayne said.
The family previously won the prizes for the highest step count in week one, which included several gift cards and baskets.
This year, the town encouraged participants to come up with “fun and creative” COVID-themed team names.
The team Pfinally Pfeeling Pfine is a riff on the Pfizer vaccine name, Bayne said.
“We think it is really incredible that such effective vaccines were developed so quickly and are thankful to those who have devoted themselves to their development, testing, distribution, and implementation,” he said.
To increase his step count, Bayne said he walks their dog Daisy every morning and plays baseball with the kids.
He also said the family has been playing pickleball on the Virgil courts and going for long walks.
To track their steps, Bayne said the family uses Apple and Garmin watches.
Participants record their steps on the MoveSpring website or app, where teams and individual participants are then ranked based on their step counts.
“It’s been a great motivator. The kids do all kinds of activities outdoors, but it’s been fun to walk together,” Bayne said in a phone interview.
“For the town, I think it’s great to model and encourage healthy living,” he added.
This year 37 teams totalling 178 people registered for the fun fitness challenge, including a group from The Lake Report, which has a solid grip on 30th place.
The initial goal of the challenge was 20 million total steps but the participants were more than halfway there after one week of walking.
So on June 15, the town announced in a social media post, “After walking more than 25 million collective steps by the halfway point of the #NOTLStepChallenge, we’re doubling our group goal to 40 million steps.”
It looks like the new goal is easily achievable. As of Wednesday, the total was at 38.4 million, or 96 per cent of the goal, with a week to go.
“Seems like there’s a bunch of competitive and active folks who are really engaged, so it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
“I think it’s a COVID-safe activity but it’s also great for your mental health and great relationally to be doing things together,” Bayne said.
“It’s been a nice little nudge, especially for our kids to get a little bit more active than they were,” he added.
Bayne said the family is not in it for the prizes and sees the challenge as a way to do things with their kids and spend time together in a “healthy way.”
The Step Challenge was interrupted last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in 2019 participants logged 14.8 million steps.
The challenge continues until June 30 and the winners will be announced on Friday, July 2.