Gov. Jay Nixon added another mile to his total during a hike at Thousand Hills State Park, and gained some new recruits for his 100 Missouri Miles Challenge.
State Rep. Nate Walker, R-Kirksville, was among the participants on the hike Thursday on the park’s 1.25-mile Red Bud Trail, and said he had signed up for the Challenge.
Troy Paino, president of Truman State University, and Craig Phelps, president of A.T. Still University, also were among the dozens of hikers who followed the Governor and State Parks Director Bill Bryan on the trail.
Several other hikers said they already were avid runners and walkers, including Ashley McCarty of the Missouri Corn Growers Association; Jon Beck, department chairman of computer science at Truman State; and Nate Holtz and his wife, Veeve, who own FKS Training in Kirksville.
The Governor held a brief news conference near the park’s Forest Lake before heading out on the trail. He noted that First Lady Georganne Nixon has already recorded 100 miles, and is still going.
“She is 16 miles ahead of me right now, but I’m catching up,” Gov. Nixon said. “There is a rule in the Nixon family: If it comes down to two choices, rather to spectate or participate, you participate.”
The Nixons launched the 100 Missouri Miles challenge earlier this summer, urging all Missourians to follow them and complete 100 miles of physical activity by the end of the year. You can hike, run, paddle, pedal or roll on any of the state’s trails, parkways or streams.
“As of this afternoon, we had more than 5,000 Missourians sign up, and so far they’ve logged more than 200,000 miles,” the Governor said.
Nixon pointed out that Missouri recently was named the “Best Trails State” by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of the nation’s hiking, biking and riding trails. The award is presented every two years to the state that has made tremendous contributions to promote and improve its trail system.
The Governor also announced that Missouri again this year is a finalist for the National Gold Medal Award for best state parks from the American Academy of Park and Recreation.
“In the digital age, these outdoor traditions are more important than ever – for the sake of our heritage, and our health,” he said.
The state park system has more than 230 trails in 58 parks and historic sites. A guide to all of them, “Trails of Missouri State Parks,” is available at mostateparks.com and helps visitors chose a hiking trail based on their needs and skill levels.
“All across the state are thousands of miles of outstanding trails,” the governor said. “For hikers and cyclists, walkers and runners, young and old, Missouri’s trails have something for everyone.”
To join the Nixons in recording 100 Missouri Miles, participants can register for the challenge at http://www.100missourimiles.com. After signing up, you can log on to record your own miles with each individual outing. Up-to-date totals for the Nixons are listed on the site.