Grant children’s wishes by taking on Trailblaze Challenge

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Make-a-Wish Alabama has the perfect way to help you jump-start and stay committed to getting healthy for the new year.

Tracy Smith, Make-a-Wish Alabama President and CEO says right now, about 200 children in the state are living with life-threatening medical conditions and waiting on wishes.

You can help grant the wishes by taking on the Trailblaze Challenge.

"It's a 12-week training program that culminates into one weekend where we have all these hikers in the Pinhoti Trail in east Alabama and they will hike 26.3 miles in one day," says Smith.

This is Make-a-Wish Alabama's fourth year hosting the program. People with all levels of experience decide to take on the challenge.

"It's a great way if you want to get into hiking and you never have, this is a really good time to do it," says Smith.

During the 14-week program, you work with experienced hikers and first-time trailblazers to get ready for the 26.3-mile trek. You'll receive a personal training schedule, have the opportunity to participate in bi-weekly training hikes and receive instruction on footwear and hiking gear from seasoned professionals.

"If you're an experienced hiker and you just want a challenge," says Smith, "You can run it, you can time it, you can do your personal best. It's however you want to make it!"

Whether you're a trail-runner or a trail-walker, you have the opportunity to find company in those around you who are also putting in blood, sweat, and tears.

Smith believes the beneficiaries can be your inspiration during the hike. "When you're on those trails, and you really think you can't go up that mountain, and you think about those children who are waiting on wishes that wish they could be on the trail... You're really hiking for them and it really puts you in the right place to say 'I can do this.'"

The Trailblaze Challenge hike weekends are April 17-19 and May 1-3, 2020 at Pinhoti Trail. Training begins on January 25, 2020.

All interested participants must attend a no-commitment information session. The sessions offer helpful information about the program, a chance to sign up and learn why the Trailblaze Challenge is such a life-changing event.

Information sessions available:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 8 at Top Golf
  • Saturday, Jan. 11 at Mountain High
  • Sunday, Jan. 12 at Rocket Republic
  • Thursday, Jan. 16 at Mountain High
  • Saturday, Jan. 18 at REI
  • Monday, Jan. 20 at Top Golf
  • Thursday, Jan. 23 at REI
  • Friday, Jan. 24 at REI (kickoff)

To sign up for an info session, visit alabamatrailblaze.org.

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