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Thumbs up: Iconic feud inspires promotion of fitness

Sep. 18, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

The Hatfield-McCoy feud in the 1880s became notorious for the deadly toll those two families extracted on each other, with seven lives claimed altogether.

Now, the feud is serving as an inspiration for a modern-day challenge that, instead of potentially turning lethal to its participants, aims to make people healthier.

This week marked the start of The Hatfield McCoy: A Healthy Feud -- Walk 100 Miles in 100 Days. It's a healthy competition that pits residents from the old stomping grounds of the Hatfields in southern West Virginia and McCoys in eastern Kentucky in a contest to see who can rack up the most miles walking. Lincoln, Boone, Logan, Mingo, Wyoming and McDowell counties in West Virginia and Pike County in Kentucky are participating in the competition, which encourages people to walk a mile a day for 100 days.

As of earlier this week, 650 people had signed up. With registration extended to Sept. 21, organizers hope to see at least 1,000 people participate in teams ranging in size from 5 to 20.

Credit goes to the organizers for latching on to the historic feud and turning it into something that addresses a key challenge of the region -- obesity. The event is held in conjunction with West Virginia on the Move, West Virginia University Healthcare, the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition, McDowell CHOICES, Sustainable Pikeville (Ky.) and the Pike County (Ky.) Health Department.

It's encouraging to see so many people signing on. Groups promoting fitness in other parts of the region might want to take note and see how they might be able to devise similar events to promote fitness.

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