By Laura Oates | Racine MultiSports | March 2, 2021
The Winter Warrior Virtual Challenge has been underway since January 1st. This Challenge encourages participants to stay fit and healthy during winter. Participants pick a challenge and log their workouts to try to achieve the goal by the end of March. Part of the fun surrounding this challenge is creating teams to help encourage each other. One of the team competitions was to see which team could get the most states represented on their team. The “Education Warriors” caught our eye with 14 participants from 11 different states; Maryland, Utah, Hawaii, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Florida, California, Washington, and Louisiana. Wondering more about this team, we reached out and asked how their team came together and how they are doing in the Challenge.
Team “Education Warriors” are all educators that belong to an international education organization, ASCD, and are or have been in the Emerging Leader program. Team Leader, Christina Yuknis of Columbia, Maryland, and a long-time participant in Racine MultiSports events said, “Our particular group encompasses Emerging Leader classes from 2010 to 2020! Some of us met in 2014 and created a Voxer (a messenger platform) group to stay in touch and have become closer over the years – vacationing together around the world.”
One of the prime ways they stay in touch is through social media. Every once in a while someone will post a challenge and invite the group to participate. In the past they have done book clubs, supported friends running for school board, participated in events supporting equity in education, fundraisers, race challenges, and more recently worked together to complete 2,020 miles in 2020. They have traveled across the country and even around the world to participate in relay races, 10k, and 5K events together, often dressing in ridiculous and unique race swag to add to the fun. Before CVOID, when they would attend their annual conference in various cities, they would always select a 5K to participate in together while they were there.
Christina decided to share the Winter Warrior Virtual Challenge with her group and began organizing a team. Christina said, “For this event, we managed to attract a larger group because of the flexibility in exercising that can be used. We all chose the event that suits where we are at. The runners can run, and the walkers can walk. People who want to do yoga can, and the ones who want to train for triathlons do. We can all still work in our own ways and yet be in this challenge together.”
INTERVIEWS WITH SOME OF THE “EDUCATION WARRIORS” PARTICIPANTS
Christina is participating in the Winter Warrior – 120 Mile Walk challenge and figured that would be a good way to keep herself motivated to stay active and keep healthy over winter, all while having a fun way to stay connected to her friends-colleagues. She has been participating in Racine MultiSports events since 2013 and has been doing the Hagerstown Triathlon every year since. She has also participated in the Luray Triathlon, SwimFests, Open Water Swim Practices, and the Fort Ritchie SUPER Fest Triathlon in 2020. Christina said, “Ken has long been really supportive of my husband’s communication needs. The Racine family has all been very nice, and Racine MultiSports puts on events that are really well run and fun. I know when I sign up for them, that it will be solid. Which is why I recommended this to my friends. And since it’s virtual, it means people who wouldn’t normally be able to participate in a Racine event, get to!”
“Education Warriors” team member Kenny McKee of Ashville, NC chose the Winter Warrior – 120 Mile Long Walk Challenge. This is his first Racine MultiSports event and he is enjoying the friendly competition, staying more active, achieving 10k steps a day. He said the Winter Warrior Virtual Challenge is helping him to lose weight and stay more active now that so much of his work has gone to video conferences.
Team Member Jennifer Orr of Springfield, VA chose the Winter Warrior – 60 Mile Walk Challenge. Jennifer said, “I want to be sure that exercise is a regular part of my routine. In a normal year, I do sprint triathlons and that kind of training isn’t happening right now. Without races, I apparently lose some of the motivation. So I’m working to make sure I don’t disrupt my routine of regular exercise.” She’s glad the Winter Warrior Virtual Challenge is keeping her going through the cold months. “I’m definitely a wimp when it comes to cold. So any motivation that will keep dragging me out of bed and out of the house through January and February is worth a try! I also really love the opportunity to do this as a team with folks from all over. Keeping connected with the other educators in this group brings me joy and makes me feel less isolated right now.”
Team member Meghan Everette of Salt Lake City, UT chose the Winter Warrior – 120 Mile Walk Challenge. She shared her reason for joining the challenge was the accountability the team provided. She wanted to form a new habit of staying active every day. She said, “An unexpected benefit has been my youngest son electing to walk with me many days. We get to chat about his classes, life, and we’ve branched out to walk in different areas of the city. It’s great exercise, but it’s been fun to have time alone with him.” Meghan pictured below said this was taken on one of her workouts for the challenge. She said, “Snow was not in the forecast but it began to come down hard! This is exactly the kind of weather I would not go out in for any other reason, but you’ve got me moving!”
Pictured Above: Meghan Everette
Team member Michelle Ogden of Aliso Viejo, CA, chose the Winter Warrior – 120 Mile Run Challenge. She said, “Working together with my friends from across the country is motivating me to stay active when all I want to do is come home after a tough day as an elementary school principal and rest. Over the past 10 months, I have been so overwhelmed with the stressors of work that I couldn’t find energy for much else. Taking part in this challenge has shown me how much I need this regular exercise to relieve that stress. The connections it allows me to have with my friends from across the country during a time when we cannot travel to see one another is also a huge benefit. Doing this challenge alongside my friends is good for my mind, body, and soul.” Michelle is having surgery in early March so she is working extra efforts to complete her challenge before her surgery.
We are truly grateful for our educators right now and are honored these educators chose our Winter Warrior competition. Sacrifice, dedication, and determination both in their jobs and in the competition, these truly are Winter Warriors!
Stay tuned for our next Challenge beginning April 1st. Details will be announced soon.