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If you were anywhere near the Downtown area on Monday, you probably saw a sea of red blinking lights attached to people running, walking, biking or just hanging out in the central city.
That’s because the new weekly fitness and community-building initiative Meet Me Downtown successfully kicked off Monday, Nov. 10, bringing hundreds of people together in Downtown Phoenix.
After checking in at the The Corner inside CityScape between 5:15 and 6:30 p.m., 380 participants made their way through a 3-plus mile course toward Margaret T. Hance Park, past city parks, historical landmarks, key attractions and back to CityScape.
Shyla Freestone, an avid runner who works Downtown, said she knows the area, but still discovered exciting new things along the route.
“As we were running we would say to each other, ‘oh, that’s where that is, I’ve heard about that,’” Freestone said. “So that was really fun.”
According to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, the program brings people together every Monday night for both fitness and social connectivity.
“It really celebrates all that I want as mayor – an exciting Downtown, a fun Downtown, a place where people know each other and a little bit of exercise thrown in there,” Stanton said. “For me, it’s really a win for everybody.”
On Monday, Nov. 17, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, the title sponsor, is hosting a health fair at The Corner – the event starting point – with free massages, health screenings, music, raffle prizes and more.
According to Jeff Stelnik, vice president of marketing for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, getting involved with this event was a great way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company this year.
“We were really excited to find an event that married two things we really have a lot of pride in – one is the community and the other is health and fitness,” Stelnik said.
For Shyla Freestone and many of the others at Monday’s inaugural event, the biggest draw is the social component.
“I like running to stay in shape and it’s a fun way to make friends,” she said. “It’s really convenient and easy to find people to run with at an event like this.”
To register for Meet Me Downtown, visit the website and make sure to check in between 5:15 and 6:30 p.m. at The Corner to get a hand stamp for great deals at local restaurants and businesses. After you’re registered, keep checking in week after week at to accumulate rewards.
*Photos courtesy of Patty Kaufman