Hoover ends healthy effort with 5k run

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 2, 2008

By AMY GORDON / Staff Writer

Hoover’s nine-week, citywide effort to get healthy sped to an end Saturday with a 5k run at Veterans Park on Valleydale Road. Seventy-five people participated in the run.

The Healthy Hoover Lifestyle campaign kicked off March 31 with the Six-1 Challenge, which was intended to last sixty days, which is approximately nine weeks, plus one day of extra effort. The 5k run provided the extra effort.

Erin Colbaugh, event coordinator for the city of Hoover, said the challenge was successful, especially given the circumstances.

“This is the first time we’ve started a health initative for the whole city,” she said. “For our first nine-week challenge, I think it has gone well, and we’ve gotten many people involved. Hopefully, we can get another one going in the fall.”

Colbaugh said the idea took off when Mayor Tony Petelos received a letter from a fellow mayor about a similar initiative in Tucson, Arizona.

“It was basically to get people to make a change to be healthier,” she said.

Petelos responded to the initiative, walking every Thursday morning at 6:30 while the challenge was going on.

Petelos said he plans to continue his 5k Thursday walks at 5:45 a.m. in Veterans Park and said anyone is welcome to participate. The walks routinely take 45 minutes to an hour, but people can come and go as their schedules dictate.

“We all try to become healthier and we all fail,” he said. “Healthy Hoover gave me motivation to try to keep walking and keep exercising. My blood pressure has dropped and I have lost five pounds.”

Resident Paula Jones said she was impressed by the city’s effort to reach

out to its citizens.

“It’s exciting for the community to get time to meet their neighbors and to

get the mayor’s ear,” Jones said about the mayor’s Thursday walks. “The people who participate are helping themselves and their body at the same time.”

The majority of participants were from Hoover, but some were from other areas of the city, Colbaugh said.

The Six-1 challenge had a community goal to reach a million minutes of exercise logged online. As of Monday afternoon, the challenge’s Web site had logged 298,326 minutes. However, the challenge wasn’t about logging the minutes, Colbaugh said.

“I think setting a goal is a good thing when you’re trying to change behavior. It gives you something to work towards,” she said. “I don’t really think the minutes are a good indication of the campaign being successful or not.”

Now that the initiative is over, participants need to continue with their newfound healthy habits, said Valeta Neal, a representative from Princeton-Hoover Baptist Medical Center. The hospital provided health screenings and information to city residents throughout the initiative.

“We brought in experts to talk about setting realistic goals and not trying to overhaul everything at once,” Neal said.