By Lauren Kollauf on Monday, November 15, 2021


Drake University School of Education employees participate in the 2021 Healthiest State Annual Walk on October 6.

Des Moines workplaces compete in friendly Step Challenge competition

Drake University in Des Moines hosts a Healthiest State Annual Walk event on their campus each year. But in 2018, wellness specialist Linda Feiden was looking for a way to motivate her fellow staff members to walk more throughout the month, not just one day. 

walktober"My original idea was to have our employees track and record their daily steps during the month and simply turn them in for a chance at prizes," said Feiden. But then she had the idea to add in a little friendly competition. 

RELATED: Top 10 health benefits of walking

Feiden contacted Joy Schiller, Wellness Center Director at nearby Des Moines University, about holding a Step Challenge between Drake and DMU. Schiller loved the idea and suggested they also add Wesley Acres staff to the competition – and the Walktober Step Challenge was born!

Participants at each campus would track their steps in a journal provided, using a fitness tracker or other app. At the end of October, each participant would hand in their journal to their site’s team captain. To determine a winner, the total number of recorded steps at each respective location would be divided by the number of participants at each site to capture an average step total.

  • Des Moines University had 74 employees complete the challenge.  The average step total was 278,249.
  • Wesley Acres had five employees complete the challenge.  The average step total was 276,232.
  • Drake University had 77 employees complete the challenge.  The average step total was 272,796. 

Congratulations to the 2021 winner: Des Moines University! The traveling trophy will head to their campus for the year.  

"Each site has now won the trophy once, which will make next year’s tie breaker very interesting!" said Feiden. (The competition was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19.)

Des Moines University was a 2019 Healthiest State Annual Workplace Award winner. Drake University won the award in 2020 and used their prize funds to create the Bulldog Mile walking path around campus. WesleyLife was a Healthiest State Annual Workplace Award finalist in 2021. Keep up the great work! 

Does your organization do something similar to the Walktober Step Challenge between DMU, Drake and Wesley Life? We want to hear about it. Contact us