Urbandale wins Grand Blue Mile-Healthiest State Initiative ‘Set the Pace' Challenge

By Jami Haberl on Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) and officials from Grand Blue Mile announced their Set the Pace challenge $10,000 award winner: Urbandale. The challenge encouraged Iowans to develop sustainable, healthy habits throughout 2017, starting with participating in this year’s Grand Blue Mile.

Urbandale had the highest percentage of its residents participating in Grand Blue Mile — measured by the number of registrants for a given ZIP code against the community’s total population. The $10,000 award will be used on a project that promotes safe and accessible places in which to be active, such as a park, playground, or trail.

“We are very excited to receive this award,” said Jan Herke, Urbandale Parks and Recreation director. “We look forward to working with the Healthiest State Initiative and Grand Blue Mile officials on selecting a project that will benefit our community for years to come.”

In all, more than 25 communities and thousands of individual participants accepted the challenge — a statistic event-sponsor Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield finds especially heartening. “Grand Blue Mile has always been unique in that it meets every participant exactly where they are in their individual wellness journey,” said Wellmark Sponsorship Manager Chris Verlengia. “The record engagement we witnessed for the 2017 Grand Blue Mile provides the perfect platform to further strengthen our collective efforts to ensure a future of better health for all Iowans.”

HSI Executive Director Jami Haberl wants to keep the momentum going. “We’re excited to work with Urbandale as they determine which project will have a long-lasting impact in their community and look forward to replicating their success across the state,” said Haberl. “We’re encouraging all Iowans to follow Urbandale’s example and move more by engaging in 30 minutes of moderate activity a day.”


About the Grand Blue Mile

The Grand Blue Mile is an annual one-mile fitness run/walk sponsored by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in partnership with the Drake Relays, toengage individuals at all stages of fitness, encourage healthy habits and empower positive change. The annual wellness event includes recreational, competitive and invitational events featuring a field of elite male and female track and field athletes from around the world. Proceeds from the event benefit Iowa Kidstrong, Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting healthy, active lifestyles among youth. For more information about the Grand Blue Mile, visit www.grandbluemile.com. © 2017 Wellmark, Inc.  All rights reserved. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About the Healthiest State Initiative
The Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization driven by the goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. By engaging worksites, communities, schools, retail food, organizations, institutions and individuals, we can inspire Iowans and their communities to improve their health and happiness, and ultimately achieve our goal. For more information, visit www.iowahealthieststate.com.