45 Mile Challenge sweeps through Tallahassee

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 19, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Hundreds of people have their feet on the ground, going the extra mile for the 45 Mile Challenge.

It started as a grassroots Facebook group to get people moving and get people outside during the pandemic, walking or running 45 miles in the month of May.

Now, it has nearly 2,000 members from across the globe, extending as far as the Caribbean and Belize.

Shemila Young joined the challenge on May 6, now 17 miles in. She says she doesn't like to exercise but this group is working to get motivated.

"It's really not about how fast you go, but accomplishing the 45 miles," Young said. "Because of the encouragement it motivates you to exercise. To do something, as I would just spend like thirty minutes on the couch watching TV, I got 30 minutes now just to get out, and I can drop a mile easily."

All of that motivation is coming from social media.

"We have a group that comes from all different backgrounds, all different health backgrounds. So we just want people to get in and do the best for them," said Vaugn Wilson.

Wilson and his partner, Oneil Brown, created the OB Fit-Mega Ace Challenge. The Facebook group allows members to post their progress, check in with each other and work together.

"Just to see everyone getting out of the house doing something, doing something productive, feeling good from the inside," Brown said.

Keisha Washington is another participant. She jumped in last week, already completing ten miles. Now she's ready for more.

"I'm a veteran, and what reminded me to get out there is, I've done this before. Let's bring it back, let's do it now," Washington said. "What better time than this pandemic to do a health challenge."

LIke many of the participants, Washington says it's the group support that keeps her moving. Now she's passing that praise on to others.

"Just letting them know that I got their back, and we're in this together," Washington said.

The two organizers say they have had tremendous support, hearing from people they aren't done at the end of the month. They have announced a new challenge for June, breaking it into a 55 mile challenge and a 90 mile challenge for those who are really ready to move.