FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Third graders from two Cumberland County elementary schools walked more than 16.5 million steps – about 8,000 miles – as they battled over a week to see who could walk the most.
Bill Hefner Elementary won the contest with about 9.8 million steps, approximately 4,900 miles. Stoney Point Elementary had about 6.7 million steps or approximately 3,300 miles. Top walking classes were at each school were  Tulisha Doctor’s class at Bill Hefner with about 2.3 million steps steps and Jennifer Brown’s class at Stoney Point with about 1.3 million steps. The leading walkers at each school were C.
Corley of Bill Hefner with about 207,000 steps and J. Briscoe of Stoney Point with about 125,000 steps. [Full results at end of the release.]
The walking contest was done in conjunction with the Million Step March, a statewide walk sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to promote physical activity. The march concludes its trek from the mountains to the sea on Thursday in Wilmington.
“The last few miles on our walk are going to be hot, tiring and dusty,” said march spokesman Gary Marino. “The enthusiasm of these students and their accomplishments give us the push we need to get to the finish line.”
Bill Hefner Elementary received a $2,000 prize to be used for promoting physical activity at the school. Both schools will also receive $1,000 for participating in the contest.
“We’re really happy to win, but we will not gloat,” said principal Brenda Bethea of Bill Hefner Elementary. “The real reward will come in seeing these children and their families develop life-long habits that will help keep them as healthy as possible.”
“In the spirit of good-natured competition, we will not ask for a recount,” said principal Susan McCray of Stoney Point Elementary. “Our students have really taken the message of physical activity to heart, and this is a great way to help them start an active and fun summer.”
Winning students received $50 gift cards to The Climbing Place, a family oriented climbing facility. Classrooms with the most steps from each school earned a $250 gift card to an education supply store for their teachers.
The walking competition is one of dozens of activities generated across the state by the Million Step March. Team members have walked more than 550 miles so far, stopping to host educational events at nonprofit organizations, parks, worksites, schools and other locations along the route.
Thousands of North Carolinians have laced up their walking shoes and joined the march, both in person and online. More than 6,300 people have logged more than half a billion steps on the walk’s interactive website, BetterHealthNC.com.
Top Five Walkers at Bill Hefner:
1. C. Corley: 207,169
2. B. Nettuno: 205,318
3. J. Duenas: 194,045
4. M. Freeman: 180,918
5. V. Arevalo: 172,296
Top Five Walkers at Stoney Point:
1. J. Briscoe: 125,472
2. K. Pineiro: 90,239
3. A. Wang: 88,557
4. C. Kim: 88,217
5. T. Packer: 85,932
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.7 million members, including approximately 904,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 75 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.
About Million Step March:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is stepping up its commitment to physical activity with its Million Step March. This new statewide wellness initiative focuses on promoting the benefits of simple, yet effective forms of physical activity like walking. The March begins in Asheville and ends in Wilmington.   It also includes an interactive web site which provides North Carolinians with opportunities to join the March online, and shows them how to make good health a habit, one step at a time. To step it up, visit BetterHealthNC.com.
About the Cumberland County Schools:
Serving approximately 54,000 students, the Cumberland County School (CCS) system is the 4th largest district in North Carolina and the 79th largest district in the United States.  Nestled in the Sandhills of Eastern North Carolina, the CCS is a mix of urban, suburban, and rural schools that serve one of the most diverse populations in the country.  One important aspect of the district is that it is able to provide the resources of a large school district, while maintaining the personal approach to education that is traditionally found in smaller districts. To learn more about the CCS, visit ccs.k12.nc.us.