By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Using City Hall as their personal gym, municipal workers climbed a collective 18,000 flights of stairs since January.
That’s nearly 50 miles of gliding, striding, huffing, puffing or panting up and down the three-story brick building – a building which, by the way, has two working elevators.
But employees eschewed the lure of easy vertical travel for the sweat-producing effort of stair climbing. They’re not suckers for punishment, but willing competitors in Mayor Jack Reed Jr.’s fitness challenge.
“It’s good for the individuals, and it should help keep our insurance premiums down,” Reed said upon launching the challenge at the start of the new year. “Plus, if we want to be the healthiest city in Mississippi, we need to lead by example.”
Becoming the healthiest city in the state was one of Reed’s campaign goals when he successfully ran for office in 2009. The City Hall competition is among numerous health-related initiatives undertaken by Reed since then.
And though fitness remains a high priority, the City Hall competition officially ended Thursday amid accolades and awards for those racking up the most steps.
Not surprisingly, the big winners all worked on the upper floors and thus had more opportunity to climb. City Planner Pat Falkner – AKA, the Stair Master – took first place with 2,864 steps. He was trailed by City Engineer John Crawley with 2,552 and Chief Financial Officer Lynn Norris with 2,008.
Altogether, municipal workers logged 252,490 steps and recorded their progress on a chart posted in the stairwell.