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Couple walking with their dog.

Turn your everyday steps into a journey across your state, country, or even the globe. Pick a city, landmark, or attraction and a date to reach it and get moving!

West Marion Community Forum

Marion, NC

McDowell County

The West Marion Community Forum walks all the way from North Carolina to Bethlehem just before Christmas each holiday season. As a group, members of the forum, other local churches, and individuals team up to collectively get enough steps by walking, running, or exercising to reach the total 6,252 miles it takes to get from West Marion to Bethlehem.


West Marion Community Forum picked Bethlehem as their target location to complement the Christmas season. Starting in the summer, participants track the amount of time spent exercising to log miles and make it to Bethlehem before Christmas Day. They use a model that counts 1 mile for every 20 minutes spent exercising. The forum uses a website to track and total individual miles. Participants follow a link to the website, enter their total miles for the week, set a personal goal for the next week, and select the participating group they represent. Families participating can log their hours together to save time.


This simple walking challenge is an easy way to increase physical activity, build community partnerships, and encourage teamwork. The walking challenge continues after Christmas for those who want to walk back to West Marion from Bethlehem (and burn off those holiday calories!). When the trek back is complete, the trip can start all over again!

To set up a Walk to a New City Challenge, decide what groups are participating and advertise the program. If you are doing this challenge with your church, consider opening it up to other congregations or community members. You can also do this with your coworkers, family members, or any organizations you are a part of. Select your destination city and the timeline you want to follow. West Marion decided to do a half-year walking challenge. Yours can be shorter, the same length or you can go all year. Depending on when you begin and finish, you might want to pick a place along a theme or with a sentimental meaning, like West Marion’s selection. You’ll need to figure out the distance in miles and which tracking platform you are going to use. Then you just need to start moving!




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