March 31, 2010 9:28:00 AM
It''s time to lace up the walking shoes.
Columbus'' Possum Town Mile-A-Day Marathon officially begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, with registration and by a walk down the Riverwalk led by Mayor Robert Smith.
The non-competitive, monthlong "marathon" encourages participants to log 26.2 miles of walking or running throughout the month.
The effort to jump-start healthier lifestyles is sponsored by the YMCA and The Dispatch.
At the Riverwalk, participants will receive a log-in sheet for tracking daily mileage and a conversion chart that can be used to convert number of steps to mileage. Information on Lowndes County walking/running trails will also be provided. A $10 entry fee will help defray the cost of the program and provide an event T-shirt.
In a 2009 survey of states by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America''s Health, Mississippi took the heavyweight title, with 32.5 percent of adults classified as obese. The state''s young people also topped their list, with 44.4 percent of children 10-17 classified as overweight or obese.
Mile-A-Day organizers hope the April marathon will encourage regular exercise, lowering those percentages that put Lowndes countians at a greater risk of diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and heart disease.
For more information about the marathon, contact the Frank P. Phillips YMCA, located at 602 Second Ave. N., at 662-328-7696.