By Krista Ruesch, Business Administration & Management
APU’s active learning component expands beyond the classroom and lesson plans. It is incorporated into the fabric of the APU 100 Mile Club’s mission. This program encourages exploration and physical activity for students, staff, and faculty, to get out and enjoy all Alaska has to offer.
Alaska has a unique landscape — soaring mountains and endless trails, developed and maintained for skiing, running, mountain biking, hiking, and more. APU’s campus alone has 170 acres of urban wilderness to explore, including 4.5 km of trail in the Jim Mahaffey Trail System, which links up to Anchorage’s city-wide trail system, providing an all-access pass to maintained trails that stretch from the Chugach Range to Cook Inlet.
Chugach State Park sits on the edge of town with 495,000 acres to explore, and the combination of 120 miles of paved multi-use trails, 105 miles of maintained ski trails, 24 miles of lighted ski trails, and 130 miles of maintained winter walkways within the Municipality of Anchorage provide endless opportunities to get out and be active.
The APU 100 Mile Club was started in 2008, primarily to encourage physical activity during the winter months – as the days grow shorter and mid-terms and finals approach, supporting and encouraging engagement in physical activity is a means to help curb the effects of the darkness (seasonal affective disorder, depression, etc.). The APU 100 mile club is comprised of a group of students who are on-campus, off-campus, non-traditional, working adult, and distance education students, and also includes APU faculty and staff. The APU 100 mile club has flexible options for completion of miles and a 10-12 week time frame (fall/spring) in which to complete the 100 miles. In the summer, club participation expands to 200 miles, running roughly 14 weeks which provides an opportunity for increased activity and enjoyment of the Alaskan outdoors under the midnight sun. Each participant who completes the challenge receives a prize for participation. Past prizes include an APU stainless steel water bottle, APU beanie hat, APU socks, and APU technical tee-shirt.
I began taking classes at APU in Fall 2007 and remember the e-mails going out the following spring inviting students, staff, and faculty to join the APU 100 Mile Club. It sounded like an undertaking. At that time I was in a sedentary job and had the physical abilities that often go with that type of occupation. I continued to be interested in the club, but didn’t join because I was afraid of personal failure. Finally, I joined the APU 100 Mile Club in Fall 2011 and began logging my miles. What I initially noticed was the impact logging miles on a chart had on my motivation to be more active and to view every day things as a physical activity. Now that I have participated for the past 5 semesters, I find excitement in trying to achieve a “personal best” in mileage per term. Participating in the APU 100 Mile Club has been a significant motivating factor in remaining active, even on the coldest darkest days.
For more information about the APU 100 Mile Club, contact APU’s Housing and Residence Life Office, 564-8238.