PITTSFIELD — For 10 weeks, hundreds of Pittsfield and North Adams residents will walk, run, hit the gym and eat right to see which city is the fittest.
Both Berkshire mayors on Thursday launched the second annual Mayor's Fitness Challenge, urging their constituents to exercise more, convert to a healthier diet and maybe kick a bad habit, such as smoking.
Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright met with local media in the Pittsfield City Council chambers to launch the friendly competition that Pittsfield won last year. The challenge includes the The Green Mile Road Race during Pittsfield's June edition of Third Thursday.
"Linda and I also will continue to do our walks," Alcombright said. "Once a weekend for the past two years I have hiked along Windsor Lake."
From May 7 through July 15, the mayors, other individuals or teams of participants will be awarded points — and at the end prizes — based on their physical activity and how many servings of fruit, vegetables and water they consumed. The city with the most points, wins.
"For the second year in a row, the city's involvement in the challenge reflects our deep commitment to a healthy and thriving community," Tyer said. "Each step — even the little ones — can have an impact toward positive change."
The Mayor's Fitness Challenge began in North Adams two years ago under the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's Mass in Motion Program. Last April, former Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi and Alcombright announced the collaborative effort of their respective administrations, NBCC , Be Well Berkshires, the Lee-based Mass in Motion funded program, and several community partners.
Nearly 1,000 residents from both communities stepped up their wellness efforts in the 2015 inaugural challenge.
Bianchi and Alcombright practiced what they preached by running — and completing — the Green Mile road race.
Among the challenge success stories last year was a 9-year-old reaching her goal of spending less time on her iPad by joining a swim team at the Northern Berkshire YMCA and swimming on her own time.
Whether running, walking or some other form of exercise, Alcombright wants more people to get moving and feel better about themselves.
"If you're not happy, you're not healthy," he said.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.