February 6, 2019 by Claudia Dolphin
Here is my true confession. I hate January. Aside from giving birth to my youngest during this wretched month, there isn’t much that gets me excited about it. It’s dark. It’s cold. And the weather is unpredictable. I’d be very happy to just hibernate it away. Or fly south.
At least that’s how I felt until a few years ago when I somewhat reluctantly decided to join a few brave souls in a winter walking challenge called Storm Troupers. At first, I thought they were nuts. I mean, who walks at least a mile every day outside, during the month with our coldest, most unpredictable weather? Then I did it. And you know what? I have come to look forward to getting my gear on and getting outside- rain, wind, sleet, snow, polar vortex and all.
My husband Peter and dog Ella were my constant companions. We enjoyed stolen time and a sense of accomplishment. I also joined group walks, organized by other participants. These were especially nice as they afforded me an opportunity to connect with friends and strangers alike. Storm Troupers made me embrace the season in a way that I hadn’t before, and I actually looked forward to checking off each day as we marched toward February.
This year’s Storm Troupers challenge wrapped up on a day where the local high temperature without wind chill was 18 degrees. With two bouts of single digit temperatures during the month, it is impressive that collectively, we logged 11,457 miles! That’s about the distance between Boston and Western Australia.
During the awards ceremony that was held on Monday, February 4that the Hingham Community Center, several participants were recognized. Two additional contests were added to make thing interesting. Extra points were given for engaging in additional exercise and weight loss:
· Jennifer Casey of Scituate retained her crown again this year by walking or running an astonishing 368 miles in 31 days! She was the overall winner as well.
· Weymouth’s Eric Olsen exercised over two hours a day, for a total of 63 hours. That’s in addition to his daily outdoor walking.
· And Laurie Schneider of Scituate took top honors for her nearly 8 pound weight loss.
And like in years past, charitable giving was part of the program. From entry fees collected, The Make-A-Wish foundation will be the lucky recipients of a check for $3000.00.
Three local fitness experts started Storm Troupers four years ago: Bee Raymond, Donna Driscoll and Heidi Russell. In that time, it has grown beyond our local communities, with participants hailing from California, Colorado, New York, Maryland, Maine, and London, England! The torch was passed this year to Jo Burns of Hingham, and new committee members Kara Kennedy, Edith Kitchin and Megan Riley,who had the thankless job of organizing enrollment, collecting entry fees, and managing the participants’ website, among other things. Through their efforts, the challenge continued on this year.
If you are intrigued or inspired, make a note to yourself to be on the look out for Storm Troupers registration announcements during the month of November or December. Coming from this winter grump, I promise you won’t regret it.
Riley and Parker Power surpassed 35 miles with owner Mary
Penny Trogele (and owner Rosario) of Hingham, who logged 5 miles on the last day of the year, when the temperature was in the single digits!
Casey Kennedy of Hingham, who was up to 35 miles as of 1/23/19
Finn Harrington of Hingham, who logged more than 110 miles with owner Janette!
Bella Welch, looking svelte and radiant after walking twice a day with owner Kathy
Roxy Roberts of Hingham who logged more than 50 miles during the month