Several residents put on their walking shoes in 2012 and covered thousands of miles within that year.

2012 Results (total miles)Dennis McCaskill2,750Thomas Cowlam2,213Pushpa Bhatia2,167David Stone1,864Diane Washington1,849Anita Bamberg1,435Henry Jackson1,380David Ingram1,155Ethel Jones1,140Mary Cullum1,131William O'Conner1,117Ron Coffey1,031Jacqueline Brown1,008Sunny Bhatia1,002James Holland700Gwendolyn White687Virginia Jelinek480Leroy Williams479Kenneth Baldwin408Luretha O'Conner396Carolyn Neely289Daisy Hale221Torricelli Simpkins204Brenda Knight194Edward Hickson169Louise Hryniewich132Richard Badger112Fred Hryniewich95

The City of Aiken Recreation Ramblers Walking Club has more than 30 active participants who put their health first and accomplished or exceeded their goals through the program last year.

The club's top male walker, Dennis McCaskill, walked a total of 2,750 miles.

The top female walker was Pushpa Bhatia, who completed 2,167 miles.

This free program, that's offered through the City's Parks, Recreation and Tourism department, is for any interested residents who are 18 or older.

Miles are accumulated at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center track, Weeks Gym 2, Weeks fitness room treadmill, the Citizens Park track, the Smith-Hazel Recreation Center track or the Smith-Hazel gym. The program is on the honor system and participants report their miles after each walk.

The program offers incentives to motivate people to get moving and get healthy such as prizes for reaching certain mileage goals and an annual awards party.

According to Recreation Program Supervisor Jessica Campbell, participants have experienced weight loss and better control of diabetes or blood pressure.

McCaskill has been a Rambler for four years. This year, his goal was to walk 1,250 miles. He exceeded that by 1,500 miles.

McCaskill tries to walk whenever he can and will start as early as 4:30 in the morning. He tries to knock out 15 miles a day, typically on the weekends when he's not working his job at SRS.

“I feel good. My wife will tell you, when I come home, it helps me rest better and like I said, it's good for you,” McCaskill said. “I enjoy it.”

This is the most McCaskill has ever walked in a year. The closest he got to that number was three years ago when he participated in a walk across America program in which he traveled from Aiken to California. He managed 2,270 miles on foot.

McCaskill said that he weighs less than he did when he finished high school and has lost 35 pounds over the last four years.

Though there is a bit of friendly competition between the members, McCaskill has motivated others who started walking with him and hopes to encourage more to do the same.

“I have people honk at me and later say, 'Hey Dennis, I saw you at the track again the other day' and I say, 'Well, why don't you come and join me?'”

PRT is currently signing up residents for the program.

To sign up or for more information, call 642-7631 or stop by the front desk at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center located at 1700 Whiskey Road.

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