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Demopolis, Hammond going the distance

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The City of the

People are in a race against the people of Hammond, La., to see who can walk the most miles in a pilot program aimed at encouraging healthy lifestyles in Southern cities.

Mayor Cecil Williamson, who is participating in a leadership program through the Delta Regional Authority, said the program is part of her group&8217;s effort to come up with healthy living initiatives that can be used in other cities.

The programs are pitting cities of differing sizes against one another and will be used as a model for future competitions in other states.

For the local competition, citizens who want to compete must walk on a treadmill at the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital where an official log will be kept. The combined distance of the top 50 walkers will be used to judge the competition in two categories: longest overall distance and longest average distance per walker.

The competition is open to two categories, one for persons ages 14 to 20 and a second category for persons ages 21 and up. The contest began at 6 a.m. on April 20 and runs until 5 p.m Friday.

The Delta Regional Authority will give prizes in each category. In the adult category, first place is $250, second place is $150 and third place is $100. In the youth category, first place is $150, second place is $100 and third place is $75.

In addition to the prizes, the winning city&8217;s hospital will receive a grant from the Delta Regional Authority.

The Delta Regional Authority is made up of part or all of eight states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia.