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Olympian walking with World Fit Students
Letter from the Director

Gary Hall, 1976 USA flagbearer

There has been tremendous excitement leading up to and during the World Fit Walk 2013. This year, we increased our numbers of schools by 33% reaching 81 schools with 32,580 students committing themselves to live a healthier lifestyle. We had the first country outside the United States, the Cayman Islands, participate with five schools in the World Fit Walk.

We successfully tested the World Fit Buddy Team competition, bringing corporate partners, civic partners, non-profits and other organizations together to walk, exercise and support their local schools and students.

As we near the end of the World Fit Walk 2013, my heart goes out to all of the Olympians and Paralympians, our World Fit Coordinators, our Partners and volunteers that have made World Fit possible and successful. Most of all, I want to thank the students, their teachers, family and friends that have given us their commitment to make walking and exercise a part of their daily life.

Yours in health,
Gary W. Hall, M.D.
Executive Director

School Leaders - Community Leaders - Champions - Students - Buddies

School Leaders

This year there were some incredible stories of school leaders that helped their students and staff to walk and exercise their way to better health. None was more impressive than Mitchell Craib from St. Albans City School in northern Vermont. In their first year in the World Fit Walk, this small K-8 school, with 133 students participating, has already logged in 11,257 miles so far with nearly two weeks left to go. Each student at St. Albans is averaging 3.5 miles of walking per day!

Our hats are off to Maria Coindreau, World Fit School Leader at Cary Middle School in Dallas, Texas. Cary’s 425 students logged in 107,201 miles in six weeks, averaging 6.3 miles per student per day! Two of their students logged in over 1,000 miles.

Congratulations to St. Albans City School and Cary Middle School, two gold medal World Fit schools, for an outstanding year of leadership and good example!

Community Leaders

The World Fit Coordinators are the most important people in the entire organization. Without the WF Coordinators helping the new schools or the schools that have new Principals, we would never see the level of success we have achieved. We try very hard to make certain each school, new or not, has a WF Coordinator to help guide and assist them through the Walk.

This year, we had several WF Coordinator superstars. One was Annie Chandler, who helped five new schools in Tucson through their first World Fit Walk very successfully. She not only coordinated the schools and arranged for the Olympian assemblies, she also managed to plan and attend her own wedding during the first week of the Walk. Talk about having it together! Congratulations Annie on your wedding and for being a rock star Coordinator for five elementary schools.

Two others were Paralympian Derek Arneaud and Olympian Renee Hykell Cuddy. Renee came back from her honeymoon to dive right into the World Fit Walk in Philadelphia (must have been a good year for weddings) and Derek assisted her as they led nine schools in Philadelphia to an amazingly successful WF Walk. Both served as Coordinators and athletes/role models for their schools, inspiring their students to live healthier.

We are most grateful to the students at George Washington University, under the direction of Lisa Delpy Neirotti, who volunteered as Community Leaders for our Washington D.C. schools and to the five volunteer Community Leaders at Mariner’s Hospital in the Florida Keys, who assisted our five World Fit Schools there.


Every single Olympian and Paralympian that helped the students in the World Fit Walk this year needs to be applauded. They were all great!

Each year we are reminded of how profound an impact these incredible athletes have on the students. Each year, we see them inspire, lead and impact the children and leave a lasting effect. They are truly heroes.

None is more exemplary than Rusty Mitchell, an Olympian gymnast from the 1964 Olympic games, who drove 3 ½ hours each way from Albuquerque NM to speak to the students at Tohatchi Middle School, a Native American school north of Gallup. Rusty helped the 183 students there win the National Championship for Native American schools by reaching 15,714 miles! Congratulations Tohatchi and Rusty!


32,580 students participated this year in the World Fit Walk. Their six-week commitment to include walking and daily sport and exercise as a part of their lives will help them adopt a culture of fitness and living a healthier lifestyle. Our hope is that this habit will continue with them for the rest of the year, as they continue to log and track miles, and throughout the remainder of their lives.

61 students from over 20 schools logged in over 1,000 miles this year during the six week Walk! Congratulations to them and to all the students that earned World Fit Walk Certificates, President Active Lifestyle Certificates and World Fit medals.


This was the third year of including World Fit Buddies into the Walk, but the first year of having World Fit Buddy Teams. To test this idea, we created Buddy Teams for our Corporate Partners, Non-profit organizations and Civic organizations in various World Fit Communities. Buddy teams were judged on the basis of numbers of Team members, total numbers of miles logged and average numbers of miles donated to schools per member.

Congratulations to United Healthcare of Arizona for leading in all three categories! Their 83 staff members logged in over 5,000 miles and donated an average of over 31 miles per member to our World Fit Schools. Job well done! World Fit is committed to help get our youth healthier along with their parents, teachers, family and friends. Now we are helping our Partners get healthier through the World Fit Walk Buddy Teams.

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More from the World Fit website
World Fit Walk 2012 Photo Gallery – May, 2013
Results World Fit Walk 2012 – July, 2012

Find news articles on the media page on the World Fit website.

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