You’ve heard of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, but how about #KeepingUpWithJack? The hashtag will be taking over Twitter this summer, while former Gov. Jack Markell cycles across the country in support of Motivate the First State.
Motivate the First State, which began as a collaboration with the Governor’s Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention as part of its ongoing strategic efforts to improve health in Delaware, enables residents to turn their activities into charitable donations that support local nonprofits.
Markell will start the 3,680-mile trip June 18 in Astoria, Ore. His journey will end in Rehoboth Beach on Aug. 7.
He plans to cycle for 45 out of the 50 days, completing about 80 miles per day. The first four weeks of the ride will take Markell nearly 2,000 miles through Oregon, Iowa, Wyoming, and South Dakota.
The former governor, who led the Tour de Delaware the entire time he was in office, said he is excited about the ride and being able to bring the focus to the First State.
“I think it will be an incredible experience, but I’m especially excited about helping Delaware through these great organizations,” Markell said during a press conference that was streamed live via Facebook. He added that the opportunity to get more people physically active, while benefiting Delaware kids, is a win-win.
Jason Danner, Motivate the First State campaign director, said the mission of the program is to encourage Delawareans to have a healthy lifestyle.
“We want people to make healthier choices every day,” Danner said. “We do that in three ways, by creating a sense of competition, a sense of social connectivity and a greater sense of purpose.”
Participation in the program is simple. Once participants complete an activity, they log it on the Motivate the State platform using their smartphone, Fitbit, or desktop computer. Residents gain points for each activity they complete. These points are then converted into money that is donated to seven local nonprofits.
Activities can include anything from, riding a bike, going for a walk, or drinking five glasses of water.
Danner said more than 250,000 activities have been logged over the past 22 months and $70,000 has been donated to seven nonprofits, including YMCA of Delaware, Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware and Urban Promise.
Markell has already begun training for the cross-country experience (he says he’s working with trainer Deborah Leedale-Brown). During the press conference, held at Ballroom Delaware in the Christiana Hilton, he told attendees he rented a bicycle so he could train while on a recent trip to California.
During the month of May, Markell invites the community to prepare for the ride with him.
“I invite everyone here in Delaware to train with me over the next couple weeks,” he said. “We can all get better together.”