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Urbandale wins Grand Blue Mile-Healthiest State Initiative ‘Set the Pace’ Challenge

The Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) and officials from Grand Blue Mile announced their Set the Pace challenge $10,000 award winner: Urbandale. The challenge encouraged Iowans to develop sustainable, healthy habits throughout 2017, starting with participating in this year’s Grand Blue Mile.

Urbandale had the highest percentage of its residents participating in Grand Blue Mile — measured by the number of registrants for a given ZIP code against the community’s total population. The $10,000 award will be used on a project that promotes safe and accessible places in which to be active, such as a park, playground, or trail.

“We are very excited to receive this award,” said Jan Herke, Urbandale Parks and Recreation director. “We look forward to working with the Healthiest State Initiative and Grand Blue Mile officials on selecting a project that will benefit our community for years to come.”

In all, more than 25 communities and thousands of individual participants accepted the challenge — a statistic event-sponsor Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield finds especially heartening. “Grand Blue Mile has always been unique in that it meets every participant exactly where they are in their individual wellness journey,” said Wellmark Sponsorship Manager Chris Verlengia. “The record engagement we witnessed for the 2017 Grand Blue Mile provides the perfect platform to further strengthen our collective efforts to ensure a future of better health for all Iowans.”

HSI Executive Director Jami Haberl wants to keep the momentum going. “We’re excited to work with Urbandale as they determine which project will have a long-lasting impact in their community and look forward to replicating their success across the state,” said Haberl. “We’re encouraging all Iowans to follow Urbandale’s example and move more by engaging in 30 minutes of moderate activity a day.”