U of G to Take Part in World Record Walk

September 24, 2007 - News Release

It's a chance to set a world record just by going out for a lunch-hour walk.

On Oct. 3 at noon, the University of Guelph is taking part in a region-wide event to break the Guinness World Record for the most people walking one kilometre at the same time.

The walk is the kick off to the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph "In Motion" campaign, which aims to increase the level of regular physical activity among adults and children in the area for the sake of health.

"We're trying to change the way people think about activity," said Pat Richards, co-ordinator of fitness and lifestyle programs in the Department of Athletics, who sits on the "In Motion" senior management team. "As a society and as individuals, we all benefit from being active, and the goal of the campaign is to have everyone fit a minimum of 30 minutes of activity into each day. I hope everyone will fit their 30 minutes of exercise in on Oct. 3 by participating in the world record walk."

The current world record for the most people walking simultaneously is 100,915 participants and is held by Western Australia, said Richards.

"I have faith that we will have no problem beating that record," she said. "There are going to be more than 20 launch sites set up across the region where people will be able to take part."

The University's Alumni Stadium, the River Run Centre and the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph are the main launch sites, and U of G representatives will be at all three. President Alastair Summerlee is kicking off the walk at Alumni Stadium; Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs), will be at the YMCA-YWCA; and Nancy Sullivan, vice-president (finance and administration), will be at the River Run.

Smaller launch sites are planned for the West End Community Centre, Evergreen Seniors Centre and Victoria Road Recreation Centre, where a number of U of G's varsity athletes will be participating. Launch sites will also be set up in Orangeville, Fergus, Elora and Arthur.

The event begins at noon with an energize session, followed by the official launch and then the walk, which will start at 12:30 p.m.

Funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion, the "In Motion" campaign is a collaborative effort of the University; the City of Guelph; Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health; the Heart and Stroke Foundation; the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph; the towns of Orangeville, Mono and Erin; and the townships of Centre Wellington, Guelph/Eramosa, Puslinch, Mapleton and Wellington North.

"The University is part of the initiative because we are part of the community and we value the importance of healthy living," said Richards. "The campaign falls in line with our mandate of 'Changing Lives, Improving Life.'"

The campaign originated in Saskatoon, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph is the first to bring "In Motion" to the province.

"The campaign was created in response to the increase in obesity and Type 2 diabetes that is happening across the country," said Richards. "People who are now in their 20s will be the first generation to bury their own children because of a lack of physical activity if something isn't done to increase activity levels and reduce childhood obesity."

According to the 2006 health status report, 46 per cent of males and 43 per cent of females in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph are inactive. About 54 per cent of males and 44 per cent of females in the area are overweight or obese, and less than half of the population who are 15 and older are getting enough activity to support optimal health.

The "In Motion" campaign will involve improving physical activity levels in schools, workplaces and older adult communities through education and awareness. The campaign will also facilitate the support required for the primary prevention of diabetes, with a focus on physical activity and healthy eating.

Richards said the University will also be incorporating the campaign into the existing wellness initiative for students, faculty and staff.

For more information about the world record walk or the "In Motion" campaign visit www.wdginmotion.ca

What: "In Motion" campaign kick off
When: Oct. 3, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: main launch sites include Alumni Stadium, YMCA-YWCA, River Run

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982.

University of Guelph
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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1