HANCOCK COUNTY — At least six days a week in the winter months, Norm Clark drives to Hancock Wellness Center and spends about an hour sweating it out on the treadmill.
This month, those efforts are doing more than helping Clark get healthy. With a key that plugs into the Technogym machinery provided at the gym, Clark and other exercisers can have their workouts be put toward the Let’s Move for a Better World Challenge, a campaign to raise awareness about childhood obesity.
The campaign, run by the Technogym manufacturer, logs workouts at participating gyms; those that log the most “moves” receive new gym equipment to donate to a school district in the fitness center’s area.
And the public is encouraged to help out while tackling their own fitness goals — on the wellness center’s Facebook page is a pass to use the facility’s equipment for free between now and March 19.
Last year, Hancock Wellness Center had the most moves of any fitness center or gym in the United States and donated exercise equipment to Eastern Hancock Schools Corp., said Hancock Wellness fitness manager Kellie McBride.
So far this year, the center is in a tight race for first place, and staffers are hoping to earn the $10,000 first prize.
“We are hopeful we can repeat our success, but there’s been some stiff competition,” said director David Flench.
Gym members are voting with a penny war to determine whether any winnings should go to Greenfield-Central School Corp., Southern Hancock School Corp., or Mt. Vernon Schools Corp., McBride said.
The competition started March 1 and runs through next Saturday, and its goal is to encourage schools around the world to fully incorporate fitness and wellness into early education settings.
On the local level, the wellness center is hoping to involve anyone with an interest in getting healthy in the campaign. Those who wish to participate don’t have to be fitness center members.
Throughout the challenge, participants can win prizes, such as gift cards and family dinners. The top local winners will also win account credits and other prizes.
Derek Cullison, an exercise specialist at the center, said there are about 80 fewer people involved this year than last year, and he hopes more people will come out and contribute their workouts to the cause in the final week of the contest.
“I think it’s a great way to get the community involved,” Cullison said.
March 13: Members who log 2,000 moves win a free T-shirt
March 14: Members who log 2,000 moves win free Bling Box loot
March 15: Treadmill classes, 10 to 11 a.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
March 16: All local businesses work out free
March 17: Treadmill Zumba classes, 10 to 11 a.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
March 18: Center open to public 8 p.m. to midnight; 7 p.m. to midnight, Firefighter workout
March 19: Last day for Let’s Move