And the 2023 Get Moving Challenge Winners Are…
Duke staff and faculty log a combined 587 million steps during the annual fitness challenge
In this year’s Get Moving Challenge, 190 teams and 1,355 individuals tallied 578 million steps, 2.7 million exercise minutes and a combined 2,219 pounds lost.
The annual fitness competition, which is organized by LIVE FOR LIFE, the Duke employee wellness program, ended in March. Over 10 weeks, staff and faculty were challenged to track steps, activity and weight lost as part of an effort to make their health and fitness a priority to start 2023.
“People really enjoyed the challenge and used it as we intended it, as a way to start the year off with wellness," said Brandon Harper, Health Program Manager for LIVE FOR LIFE. “We wanted people to start off the year really thinking about different aspects of wellness, and have a friendly challenge as we do it.“
Here are the individual and team winners – all of whom hail from the Department of Anesthesiology.
John Thomas, a nurse anesthetist at Duke University Hospital, credits determination as the secret to his success.
Spurred forward by a competitive team of 11 colleagues in the Department of Anesthesiology, Thomas logged 2,389,920 steps and nearly 13,000 minutes of activity to finish with the most individual steps in the Get Moving Challenge.
Matthew Eggleston, staff assistant in the Department of Economics did not belong to a team and logged a competition-high of 21,410 exercise minutes.
Over the course of the challenge, Thomas said he achieved the most steps by lifting weights at the YMCA every day and running and biking often as part of a separate department-wide Peloton competition. Each activity drove him to keep up with teammates.
“I just wanted to beat the other people on my team,” Thomas said. “They would put in time and all of the sudden they would come and take the top spot. I’m competitive.”
While receiving a built-in boost due to walking the halls of Duke University Hospital as part of caring for patients, Thomas, who participated in the Get Moving Challenge for the first time, said the competition helped him to slow down and get back into a groove of regular activity.
“I want to live for a very long time,” said Thomas, 40. “In anesthesia, we get really busy…I think my fitness started to fall off. Now I’m trying to prolong my quality of life.”
The “Running Epidurals” team included Thomas, Benjamin Andrew, Kristal Barbee, Kathryn Donato, Alex Girden, Ashraf Habib, Matthew Harrell, Jason McGavin, Abigail Melnick, Marie-Louise Meng and Reade Tillman.
They outpaced other teams by combining for 15,225,996 steps, or an average of about 1.4 million steps per person.
Throughout the Get Moving Challenge, the group of nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists stayed close by sharing daily activity in a WhatsApp group chat. Team members motivated each other by sharing stats in messages throughout the day, including marathon training sessions, afternoon bike rides and a now-famous 8-mile at 3 a.m. that set a new standard on the team.
“The winning formula was healthy competition,” said Running Epidurals team leader Dr. Ashraf Habib, a professor of Anesthesiology and the chief of the Division of Women’s Anesthesia at Duke University Hospital. “But it was more about friendship, especially following COVID-19 time when we missed a lot of social interactions together. This was an opportunity to bring folks together and have something positive that gets everybody motivated.”
- The five-person “Pickett Road Team,” colleagues at the Office of Clinical Research on Pickett Road, lost almost 58 combined pounds during the challenge.
- “PentaFavv4.0,” a five-member team from the Department of Surgery, exercised a competition-high 7,552 minutes.
- Ten individual competitors who tracked their weight during the competition lost 20 or more pounds, including Richard Lee, a clinical nurse in the Duke University Hospital Post Anesthesia Care Unit. He lost 49.6 pounds.
See the final rankings in the 2023 Get Moving Challenge here.
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