Local couple completes Parks & Rec’s ‘Walk Across America’ challenge

Published 10:20 am Thursday, December 3, 2015

Contributed Photo   Trena and Carl Gibson just completed the "Walk Across America" and are "on their way to Honolulu."

Contributed Photo Trena and Carl Gibson just completed the “Walk Across America” and are “on their way to Honolulu.”

An Elizabethton couple recently completed Elizabethton Parks and Recreation’s 2,817-mile Walk Across America challenge, and they are now walking 2,560 miles “to Honolulu” as part of the Walk Around the World challenge.
“They just keep going; they like to walk,” said Athletic Coordinator David Nanney.
Carl and Trena Gibson walk daily right here in Elizabethton and track their miles, and as they do, Nanney tracks their route and posts upcoming destinations.
“This gives people an incentive to walk with a goal, reward and public recognition,” said Nanney.
They are two of nearly 25 people that have already “walked across Tennessee” in the three years the program has existed — a 539-mile accomplishment. Nanney said it has become a social event, at which numerous walkers will join and walk together at the Recreation Center.
“After Macel Gardener quickly completed the Walk Across Tennessee, we knew we had to come up with another challenge,” said Nanney. “Nobody can catch up to her, and she’s in her 80s.”
Gardener is the reigning champ with 3,503 miles to her name. She is currently 686 miles into her walk to Honolulu, closely followed by Carl with 3,089 miles and Trena with 2,882.5 miles.
Parks and Recreation staff organized these challenges to promote walking, beginning with the Walk Across Tennessee, which is charted from Mountain City to Memphis. The America challenge is mapped from Virginia Beach to Los Angeles, California, and the world tour begins in Los Angeles and goes through such cities as Honolulu, Tokyo, Beijing, Kabul, Damascus, the Canary and Bermuda Islands and many others.
Nanney posts updates in the Recreation Center showing walkers’ statuses and destinations.
Currently, Stacey Draper, Ralph Gardner, Heather Buckles, Alberto and Celia Ceffalo, Janice Stout and Audrey Holland are “walking across Tennessee,” and some only have a few dozen miles left.
Only three people have completed the Walk Across America, but seven are on their journeys. Of these, Ruth Parlier, Allen Sowards, and Norma Babb have made it to Arizona, and Pam and David Turpin, Jennie Ritchie and Robert Ritchie have all walked more than 500 miles.
Once each journey is complete, walkers receive a T-shirt stating their accomplishment.
Stop by the Parks and Recreation Center at 300 W. Mill St. to sign up or to track locals’ journeys.

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