1. Doctor’s Orders – Atlanta, GA
Physician assistants can now prescribe healthy hikes in the great outdoors, which can then be turned in for free passes to Georgia’s state parks. The program is part of a larger effort by the park system to encourage people to use the outdoors as part of their exercise routine. A prescribed calorie burn is an effort everyone can get behind. Just don’t be offended if, during your next physical, your doc tells you to “take a hike.”
2. Wet Trails – Chattahoochee River, GA
The Chattahoochee River will become the nation’s first designated National Water Trail under the new National Water Trail System unveiled by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Salazar signed a Secretarial Order that establishes national water trails as part of the National Trail System Act of 1968, which allows for more water trails to be signed into law without being bogged down in Congress. Recreational tubers rejoiced by cranking up Alan Jackson and chugging Silver Bullets.
3. Solar Blessing – Prince George County, MD
A group of 36 church officials in Prince George’s County recently sent a letter to their lawmakers, imploring them to support Governor Martin O’Malley’s plan to use Maryland’s portion of the Atlantic Coast for off-shore wind farms. The multi-denominational clergy clan—which included priests, nuns, rabbis, and an imam—called out air and water pollution from coal-burning power plants. In their view, going green isn’t hippie—it’s godly in a do-unto-others kind of way. “As clergy we recognize the core issue is the impact this has on people,” said Reverend Kip Banks Sr. of Upper Marlboro, Md.
4. Leading the Blind – Washington, DC
EJ Scott is slowly losing his sight due to the genetic eye disease choroidarema, but that has not slowed him down; in fact, it may have sped him up. Scott is now in the midst of running 12 marathons in 12 different cities in 2012 to benefit The Choroideremia Research Foundation. Running blindfolded to prevent further damage to his eyes, Scott has caught the attention of several national news outlets and plans on running in marathons in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., to promote the cause. Even though he can’t see the runners around him, they can see him and that’s the point.
5. Streaking the South – Raleigh, N.C.
70-year-old Barbara Latta holds the longest women’s running streak in the country. She has been running every day since December 5, 1983—that’s over 28 years of consecutive running. Several men from the South have even longer running streaks, including 73-year-old Jon Simpson of Memphis, Tenn., who has been running every day since August 30, 1971, a span of over 40 years. The national leader is 61-year-old Mark Covert, of Lancaster, California, who began his streak on July 23, 1968. Covert has run over 16,000 consecutive days. There’s even an organization dedicated to tracking these relentless runners: the U.S. Running Streak Association lists hundreds of streakers across the country: runeveryday.com
Beyond the Blue Ridge
Century Mark – France
Robert Marchand set a speed record for riding his bike 15.1 miles in 60 minutes, at the age of 100. Following the race, he said, “I could have gone faster; I didn’t want to.”
Losing by Winning – Fort Worth, TX
Scott Downard broke the tape at the Cowtown Marathon, then broke the news that he was wearing a buddy’s number and never registered for the race. The event sparked controversy across the web and Downard was disqualified, going from first to worst, and chat forum pariah, in a matter of seconds.
Is it drafty on this waterfall? – Spearfish, S.D.
A man received a verbal warning when he was busted for climbing Bridal Veil Falls in the buff on a cold, snowy day last month. The man explained he did it for a laugh and luckily got away without a fine—or frostbite.