MLK’s historic walk inspires a fitness challenge at central Ohio YMCAs


Five days and 54 miles: The march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 was the climax of a long struggle for voting rights. The peaceful demonstration, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., brought about change, even before it was over.

In honor of those 54 history-making miles, people at the YMCA are jumping on treadmills again this year for the MLK Challenge. It was created to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's commitment and impact, by paying tribute to the Selma to Montgomery march.

Tamela Dixon said, "I thought, if they can walk 54 miles in five days, then surely I can do it over the stretch of time that they were doing it here at the Y."

Dixon logged 69 miles when the YMCA first introduced the challenge last year. And that inspired her to make some lifestyle changes to improve her health.

"Literally, I just said I'm not a runner. I'm gonna start walking," Dixon explained.

And she did. Now, more than a year later, she's 65 pounds lighter and her health has never been better.

Dixon said, "I get my blood work done twice a year and just to see the numbers, your cholesterol, your blood pressure, liver function, kidney function, all of that. My doctors were excited to see my numbers improve."

Small changes made a big difference for Dixon, and it can for you, too.

"Maybe you don't have time to walk, but you have time to take the stairs," Dixon said. "I think sometimes we think so big and so large-scale that we feel self-defeated before we even get started."

You can log some miles of your own in the MLK Challenge.

Dixon said, "There's something for everyone to do to improve their health. I don't care how small it is. But just get moving. That's my challenge to people, just get moving."