On Oct. 12, exactly 10 weeks after announcing the 100-day challenge, 4,313 people had registered to take the challenge. Participants can walk, cycle, run, ride a motorcycle or cover 100 miles any way they choose in the 100 days leading up to Veterans Day.
“I can’t think of a better goal to have than 5,000 participants,” Oxford explained. “After all, 5K has two meanings — one the shorthand for the common 5-kilometer race or fun run. And secondly 5K, meaning 5,000.”
More importantly, the commander noted, reaching the 5,000-participant threshold would drive even more donations to the Legion’s Veterans & Children Foundation (V&CF), which covers the costs of American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance grants for military and veteran families with children at home who are facing severe hardships, as well as funding to train American Legion service officers, who provide free representation to veterans applying for government benefits.
“I have been so pleased to see this participation and read these amazing accomplishments by our members,” Oxford said. “And, of course, this campaign helps fund our foundation. That provides critical funding for our service officers and military families in need. That’s what it is all about. Continuing to serve while commiting to a healthy regimen of exercise.”
To join the challenge, participants need to sign up at Emblem Sales. For a $30 registration fee, they will receive a slick tech shirt (available in men’s, women’s and children’s cuts), a sign to display and a certificate of accomplishment when they finish. Roughly 50 percent of the $30 fee will go toward V&CF after figuring in costs for the shirts, shipping, etc.
The last call for registrants is Oct. 19, which will ensure delivery of shirts by Veterans Day.
With roughly four weeks to go, there is still time to finish the 100 miles, especially if participants are riding bikes, using elliptical machines or getting on their motorcycles. There have been many inspiring and creative stories of members pursuing their goals from coast to coast. For example:
• In California, Charlie Parker may be in a wheelchair but that doesn’t stop him. The Navy veteran is completing his 100 miles, one swimstroke at a time.
• In South Dakota, Department Service Officer Courtney VanZanten was inspired to walk 100 miles, and got her children involved, too. The exercise not only benefitted her, but her line of work, thanks to donations going toward supporting service officers.
• In Maryland, Michael Bush dusted off his kayak, encouraged other members of his post to participate and is paddling toward his century goal.
It’s up to participants on how they achieve the 100-mile threshold. But when they do, they are encouraged to share their success on our Legiontown web page. And once the mission is complete, participants can download this flyer to celebrate their achievement.
As the campaign winds down, American Legion posts are encouraged to create celebratory Veterans Day events for members while keeping local social distancing rules in mind. If your post is planning an event, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org