Big Green Gym

MARQUETTE – The City of Marquette is a little healthier these days after competing in the 2013 MI Big Green Gym-Blues Community Challenge.

The Marquette City Commission was presented with a $9,000 check during its regular meeting Monday, the prize for a first place tie with Team Grand Traverse in the competition that took place between Marquette, Kalamzoo and Grand Traverse County.

The competition was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Recreation and Park Association.

To compete, residents of those three areas could register for free online and log their daily exercise activity, which was to take place out of doors, thus introducing people to the state’s wide array of parks and recreation areas and keeping the competition’s carbon footprint at a minimum.

According to Benjamin Puchala, senior community liaison for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Team Marquette put up “some pretty impressive numbers,” logging 37,838 miles of exercise from April 27 through June 22.

Puchala said that mileage count burned 3.78 million calories.

“That equates to approximately 12,600 fast food cheeseburgers, so that’s impressive in and of itself,” Puchala said while addressing the commission. “But more importantly, especially from our perspective and our experience with the Blues Community Challenge, the really important part is the community engagement and the emphasis on being more physically active and healthy by taking advantage of all of the great recreation opportunities, especially those that exist in Marquette.”

The Michigan Recreation and Park Association provides advocacy, resources and professional development opportunities to a devoted and diverse membership of park and recreation agencies, professionals, vendors and advocates. The association provides members with resources and advocates for the profession.

The nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million people.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.