JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A friendly competition to see which city is fitter -- Jacksonville or Tampa Bay -- returned for a tiebreaker year.
In the Treadmill Tuesday competition to see which city could log the most miles, Tampa Bay YMCA beat First Coast YMCA by 1,385.15 miles.
During the 12-hour event, 1,368 Northeast Florida participants logged 2,800.8 miles on treadmills, and 1,979 Tampa participants completed 4,185.95 miles.
Treadmill Tuesday allowed anyone to work out for free on any treadmill at any local YMCA until 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The contest determines which city is the healthiest based on which one can log the most hours with people on the treadmill.
Each area had won once in the previous two years of the contest, which is why this year was a tiebreaker. In the end, the Tampa area defeated the Jacksonville area.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and the First Coast YMCA President and CEO Eric Mann joined in the effort to encourage healthy living.
“It gives perspective and allows me to think more clearly,” Curry said of running. “It’s as much about the mind as it is about the body.”
Mann said once you make working out part of a routine, it becomes easy.
While some came out for the fitness, others wanted to join in on the friendly competition against the Tampa-based YMCAs.
“We just moved from St. Pete and we’re all about beating the Tampa area right now,” Jen Greco said. “We’re all about the Jacksonville pride.”
Treadmill Tuesday not only got people running, but also brought awareness to water safety. The Y encouraged people to donate to the Safety Around Water program. The money will fund lessons for at-risk youth.
Last year, eight children drowned in Northeast Florida. And earlier this month, a 5-year-old drowned in an apartment complex pool after getting past a locked gate.
Winston YMCA Executive Director Tim Burrows said that tragedy could have been prevented.
“Blowing bubbles in the water, putting their head underwater, getting to the side of the pool, so it’s the basic skills that will help parents feel comfortable, because kids have the ability that if something happens in the water they’re able to get out safely,” Burrows said.