The results are in and Meadow Lake is number one.

Once all the numbers were logged and points tallied, the City of Meadow Lake finished first overall in the annual Saskatchewan Blue Cross Go Out and Play Challenge, logging a total of 538,742 active minutes and overcoming the runner-up – the Town of Langenburg – by 31,311 minutes.

“I’m ecstatic,” remarked Meadow Lake parks and recreation manager Regan Beck. “I can’t believe the response we received. I won’t lie – I had a bit of a restless night worrying Langenburg might make a late run on us.”

Langenburg logged 507,431 minutes, while the close to 40 participating communities combined logged 5,033,786 minutes of physical activity during this year’s challenge. From March 1-10, registered communities rallied residents to log physical activity minutes each and every day with the winner laying claim to the grand prize of $10,000.

“I believe, in a weird sort of way, COVID-19 had a big thing to do with our success,” Beck continued. “We did this right in the heart of major COVID issues going through our community, and people were looking for something to gravitate toward that was positive. It also didn’t hurt to have beautiful weather, which helped to excite people to get things going. Once we had the community buy-in, we were off and running.”

Beck went on to say the various schools in Meadow Lake became involved, as did the four fitness centres in the community which embraced the challenge through their own related promotions.

In 2020, Meadow Lake logged only about 50,000 hours overall.

“Last year, for whatever reason, the challenge just didn’t get the local buy-in,” Beck said. “This year, we jumped into the lead within the first few days and, once we were in the front, people just wanted to keep going. Meadow Lake has such a strong sense of community pride.”

The city plans to use the $10,000 prize for a lighting project in Lions Park.

“The $10,000 is what I would deem to be the first step in this project,” Beck noted. “To put lights throughout the whole park in a one chunk deal would be a huge capital expenditure and one you would need approval for in the budget. This will allow us to show what the $10,000 can do, and we can use this as a carry forward.”

Beck also plans to speak with members of the city’s beautification committee, as well as city manager Diana Burton to come up with a plan on what improved lighting could look like throughout the park.

“At some point I can envision us receiving community donations or in a situation where someone can buy a light – we could keep lighting the park that way opposed to doing it all in one shot,” he said. “Our goal from this ($10,000) is to buy the type of lights we want to put in and showcase a little of what this can look like. I also want to express my gratitude to everyone who participated in the Go Out and Play Challenge. I am super excited.”

For more, see next Thursday’s (March 18) edition of Northern Pride.