More than 18,000 runners and walkers are expected to race through the heart of downtown Grand Rapids this Saturday at the 39th Annual Fifth Third River Bank Run. In preparation for the event, the public nominates several veteran or novice runners to serve as "Road Warriors," a group of run ambassadors dedicated to motivating the community to get active, try new training methods, test new gear and participate in the 25K, 10K or 5K road race. One of these Road Warriors is Brook Taylor of the Star 105.7 Morning Show. Taylor became involved with the Fifth Third River Bank Run not for her love of walking, but for her competitive nature. Her sisters often challenged her to step competitions through their fitness tracking bracelets, and she was sick of losing. That's when she heard about the 10,000 Steps Challenge, a free pedometer-based training program, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “When the opportunity came to represent the 5K Community Walk 10,000 steps program I jumped at the chance, mostly because I wanted to beat my sisters," said Taylor. The 10,000 Steps Challenge is a 12-week community walking program that runs from December to May. On the first Saturday of each month, participants gather at the David D. Hunting YMCA for a free community training run. According to Taylor, the community element made all the difference in motivating her to reach her daily step goal. Even on Saturdays when Taylor did not feel like heading to the gym, she would push through because she “enjoyed getting to know so many people.” At first, Taylor felt skeptical and “a little embarrassed” about being a Road Warrior. “I felt like I didn’t deserve to be called a ‘warrior’ because I was only walking,” she said. But her lifetime of walking experience and her fight to reach 10,000 steps each day made her more than qualified for the role. Taylor's advice to novice walkers and runners? Even though 10,000 steps seems like a lot, it is easier to achieve than you would think. Make small changes in your daily routine that allow you take more steps, like picking a parking spot that makes you walk further to the door, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Even extra steps from performing everyday tasks like picking up the mail from the mailbox or taking out the trash can add up. If you aren't yet registered for the Fifth Third River Bank Run, it's not too late to sign up.
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