North

Walk to Tuk enters The Play Exchange’s $1M challenge

An N.W.T. fitness program that challenges people to walk the same distance as the Mackenzie River, from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk, over the course of a winter is among six finalists competing for some big bucks.

The Play Exchange airs tonight on CBC Television at 7 p.m.

A team takes a walk to earn kilometres towards their 1,658 kilometre goal - the distance of the Mackenzie River from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk. (The Play Exchange/CBC)

An N.W.T. fitness program that challenges people to walk the same distance as the Mackenzie River, from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk, over the course of a winter is competing for some big bucks. 

The Walk to Tuk 1,658 kilometre challenge is one of six finalists in a competition called The Play Exchange, which will let Canadians vote on who should get up to $1 million in federal funding to promote novel approaches to getting healthy. 

“Our goal is to take the program national,” says Sheena Tremblay, Walk to Tuk's lead organizer with the N.W.T. Recreation and Parks Association. 

The Walk to Tuk covers the distance of the Mackenzie River from Fort Providence (bottom) to Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic coast. Teams have the course of the long, dark winter to pool their collective walking to cover some serious ground. (Walk to Tuk)
Beginning in 1989, the Walk to Tuk became the N.W.T.'s biggest physical activity event. 

In the walk, teams of up to 20 members pool their walking hours to collectively meet the goal. One hour of walking is counted as 5 kilometres for a team of 10 or or less, or 4 kilometres for a team of 11 to 20 people. Other activities, such as skiing, weight-lifting, or even stacking wood can also count towards the goal. 

In 2014, over 100 teams took part, with 73 achieving the goal. 

Tremblay says that if they win, the popular program could get even bigger.

The Play Exchange airs on a national CBC Television special tonight at 7 o'clock.

Voting is open until January 16.

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