By Martial Haprov
Friends, neighbors and coworkers will converge on Feb. 23 to support a common cause: their own health.
Teams of three to five will participate in the “Heart Games,” an event under the Healthy Apple Valley banner, according to a town news release. The event features a race where the teams work to uncover clues, solve puzzles and complete challenges as they race to the finish line.
Teams earn 100 points each time they complete one of the 10 checkpoints throughout the race, according to recreation supervisor Lena Quiñonez. Along the way, there are other mini-events, such as a relay race. In those instances, the team that comes in first place receives 75 points, the second place team gets 50 points and the third place team receives 25 points.
Teams who dress in spirit clothes will receive an additional 10 points at the start of the race, Quiñonez said. Spirit clothes can include the team name, crazy hats, color-coded or themed — anything that specifically identifies and separates the team from the others.
“Basically, it’s anything that gets the motivation of the entire group going,” Quiñonez said.
The first 50 Apple Valley Unified School District students who register will participate for free, thanks to a Healthy Kids sponsorship from St. Joseph Health, St. Mary, according to organizers. After that, registration is $10 per person.
Quiñonez said this is the second year the town is hosting the race. They choose to run it in February since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes it as “National Heart Month.”
“During heart month, we want to educate people on how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle,” Quiñonez said.
The Healthy Apple Valley program began two years ago after the town received a $50,000 grant from the San Bernardino County Department of Health. The program means the town is now considered a “healthy city,” according to Quiñonez.
“Our goal is to offer free or low-cost programs that have emphasis on health nutrition and active living,” she said.
Registration is now open and sponsorships are available. Proceeds from the event will support the installation of fitness equipment stations at Civic Center Park and the construction of future walking paths at other town parks.
Heart Games begins at 9 a.m. Feb. 23 at the Apple Valley Conference Center, 14975 Dale Evans Parkway. For more information or to register, email HealthyAV@applevalley.org, call (760) 240-7880 or visit www.AVRecreation.org.