As we approach what promises to be the most exciting, fun and fulfilling Take the Lake weekend ever, we again face a few challenges, but fortunately, the spirit of Take the Lake is all about crushing challenges with gusto.
Just how fulfilling will this year be? Well, we made 2012 the year of The Educator, and have colored everything with schoolhouses, apples and other fun teacher stuff.
And teachers know how to have fun. Nearly 200 of them and fellow employees at the two school districts have committed to participating. Southeastern Community College has a committee eager to recruit their employees, and remembering their enthusiasm with Columbus County Drops a Ton in 2005, we are excited for the potential they offer.
Also, Columbus Regional Healthcare, a strong
supporter of Take the Lake from the start, has turned its efforts inward and is launching an ambitious campaign to recruit their employees.
As any TTL Walk / Run or Bike & Hike participant knows, the residents around Lake Waccamaw are just nuts about showing visitors a good time, and each Labor Day weekend, they go all out, covering their front lawns with posters and good cheer, and handing our weary participants water, snacks and heaps of motivation to go the next mile.
I may gush here to the point of embarrassment, but I am really moved by this. The residents who make any effort to show support for our participants should know just how much they’re appreciated. Our post-event polls are filled with kudos for “the people of Lake Waccamaw” showing hospitality not found in fancy triathlons or marathons.
And this year, SCC and CRHS are both planning to encamp at a few homes along the route and show support in what we’re calling “hospitality houses.” They also may take their support on the road, filling golf carts with bottled water, and bringing good cheer everywhere.
We hope that groups will have fun with hospitality houses beyond the front yard. Many use them as “base camps” for their families, friends and coworkers to rest between their Personal Endurance Challenges, for reunions or meetings. I’ve seen extended families, churches and schools take advantage of this.
Also, for area schools, the college, hospital or any business to reach out to their groups in surrounding counties and say; “look what we have here – come join us!” can only improve our reputation as an ambitious and friendly county, and Columbus County is getting the word out that we have a beautiful place in which to live, and a more healthful one every day.
As I’ve been telling people lately, this is the year, the year that Take the Lake really takes off.
About those challenges. We have chosen to improve the level of insurance coverage from a policy designed for festivals, to one more suited for race events. This improvement tosses two challenges our way.
First, is the cost – at $2,000, more than five times what we have been paying.
Since other expenses have also grown, and a significant grant expired, our committee has chosen to work even harder and increase our sponsor participation.
The cool thing is, this will also improve the events in some pretty fun ways.
First, we receive a few comments each year that we should have mile markers along the route so participants can track their progress. Funny thing is, we installed mile markers along the roads and on the water two years ago.
We designed the road markers to be small and subtle, so we could keep them up year-round, and maybe we overdid that subtlety. So, this year we have made large, bright yellow, numbered sleeves that fit over those markers during our events.
They can’t be missed.
And, since hundreds – or thousands – of people will see these markers over the weekend, we hope some companies or organizations would like that exposure and have their logos appear on the markers. Check our sponsor page at Takethelake.org for details.
Also, I spent some time last year photographing paddlers as they passed by the state park. I really enjoyed telling them that they were “about halfway done,” and I saw an opportunity there.
So this year, if we get sponsor support, at the halfway point of each PEC, participants will see a large celebratory banner proclaiming their (half) accomplishment.
At this point, I need to introduce Harry Foley, who needs no introduction. Harry has faithfully been our sign man from the start of Take the Lake, and he will set these banners out for the Walk / Run, the Paddle, the Bike & Hike and the Swim.
In the spirit of one of the most jocular characters on the Lake, we are naming these monumental and inspirational banners the “Harry’s Halfway Hallelujah!” To sponsor a pair, visit Takethelake.org.
About our second challenge; to acquire the new insurance, we are becoming a nationally sanctioned event with the U.S. Adventure Racing Association and we must follow their sanctioning guidelines.
New this year will be the requirement of safety helmets.
So, like it or not, if you want to participate in the Bike & Hike PEC, you’ll need to show up with a helmet, and wear it while riding.
Looking at photographs from last year, I estimate that only about 10 percent of our cyclists wore helmets, and I predict that this rule will reduce our participation by half. Now, I could spend an entire column on the real and long-term effects this will have, but here and now, I am supporting helmets.
Last year, 12 people chose to attempt all four PECs in a single day, during the Take the Lake X-TREME!, and I’m proud to say that they all achieved their goal.
Since this one is a race, participants will join the USARA, enjoying a few benefits (including insurance) of that association for a fee of $8.
Yes, this is the year of Take the Lake, and step by step, pedal by paddle by stroke, we are an ambitious county, getting healthier every day.
Join in the TTL training fun, and leave a comment!
Take the Lake would not be possible without our generous sponsors. Thank you for supporting fitness and good health in our community!
Thank you to our sponsors!
Columbus Regional Healthcare System
The John A. McNeill Family
Carolina Sports Medicine
Council Tool Company
Friends of Rube McCrae Memorial Library
Hill's Food Stores
Southeastern Community College
Baldwin Woods Pharmacy
Dale's Seafood Restaurant
Powell and Powell Law
Sam’s Pit Stop
Special Service Sponsors
Body Shapers Fitness Center
Lake Time Vintiques
The News Reporter
Take a few minutes and reel through the years of Take the Lake, as we review the many themes and posters that have helped make fitness more fun in Columbus County! Click here
After spending several years at the very bottom of the County Health Ranking -- as the least healthy county in all of North Carolina -- we have improved our lifestyles enough to move up to 96, and we are proud to be so healthy!
DID YOU KNOW...
that the second-most-popular Boy Scout merit badge in the U.S. is for Swimming? And the ninth-most-popular is Personal Fitness? Yes!
Six girls complete
all four PECs.
Are you ready?
Visit our Sponsor Page, or Contact us if you would like to be a part of the largest community fitness event in Columbus County!