Cassville couple accept 100 Missouri Miles Challenge

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Kerry Hays and wife, Heather, hike the one and a half mile Pibern Trail at Roaring River State Park on the morning of June 7 as part of their attempt to complete the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. Democrat Photo/Joshua Boley

June 1 marked the beginning of Governor Jay Nixon's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. The initiative continues until the end of the year and is aimed at getting Missourians outside and healthy, according to the events website, www.100missourimiles.com.

Taking up the governor's challenge is Cassville couple Kerry and Heather Hays. Kerry is the assistant park superintendent at Roaring River State Park. Heather is currently seeking a master's degree in counseling and helping raise the couple's two teenage daughters.

Challenge participants can log distances online after registering in running, walking, hiking, biking or paddling. Individuals taking the challenge can then see how their distances compare to those of the Governor and First Lady. According to the website as of June 10, the governor had completed 26.5 miles and the First Lady 46 miles. In comparison, Kerry has logged 25 total miles, and Heather logged 21 miles.

"I have logged miles in as walking and hiking so rather than being a 100 mile challenge, now it's a 100 miles for each area," Kerry said.

At this time 2,636 Missourians have accepted the challenge and logged a total of 20,947 miles. Heather said that the site is easy to follow and provides goals to achieve along the way to help with motivation.

"You just log in, and there is a little box and you just put in what you did for the day and where you did it and then you're done." Heather said.

Four years ago, the couple lived in a city and said they understand not everyone has access to trails like the ones at Roaring River.

Kerry, 58, and Heather, 40, say they would hike regardless, but the 100 mile challenge provides them another reason to get outdoors.

"I had a heart attack 15 months ago, and this is what I need," Kerry said.

Missouri was named "Best Trails State" by the nonprofit organization American Trails. Because of this honor and the Governor's Challenge, Missouri State Parks is encouraging Missourians to take advantage of the resources around them and get outside. This sentiment is shared by Kerry and Heather.

"We want to spread awareness of the wonderful resources we have around us and let people know it's a great way to get in shape and stay in shape." Kerry said.

There are a variety of different trails within Roaring River State Park ranging in distance and difficulty. Kerry said a pedometer is a useful tool to keep track of the miles, so they can be logged into the website.

"Most people if they are not really active want to be active," Kerry said. "They know in the back of their mind that 'I need to be doing something,' and this gives you a nice opportunity to do something."

For more information about the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge, visit www.100missourimiles.com or visit the park office at Roaring River State Park and pick up a pamphlet.

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