It’s still six months until the 2013 Missoula Heart Walk, but organizers are hoping National Walking Day on Wednesday will help generate excitement for the annual event.
The American Heart and Stroke Association of Missoula’s Heart Walk and Heart 5K 5un will be held Sept. 28 on the Oval at the University of Montana.
The Heart Walk-Heart 5K Run kickoff event will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Currents Aquatics Center in McCormick Park.
“This is the first time we’ve had a kickoff for the Heart Walk in the spring. We thought we would do it really with the idea of getting the Heart Walk teams up and running earlier in the year and getting them excited for raising money,” said Bill Mathews, regional director for the association.
During the event Wednesday, people can find or register fundraising teams. Healthy snacks will be served and Mayor John Engen will make an appearance. At 5:30 p.m., the group will walk on the riverfront trail from McCormick Park to the Van Buren Street footbridge in honor of National Walking Day.
That stretch of the trail along the Clark Fork River is an American Heart Association designated walking path.
National Walking Day encourages Americans to take at least 30 minutes out of their day to walk.
“If we all learn more (about heart health) we’re all going to live longer. National Walking Day is about being more healthy,” Mathews said.
Heart Walk teams are usually comprised of five to 10 people who raise money through online pledges or monetary donations. The money raised stays in Missoula to help fund research and put on educational events about stroke and heart disease.
Among other things, last year the funds helped about 2,000 Missoula kids learn CPR and helped put on the stroke survivor golf clinic, Saving Strokes.
Money also was used to help research projects at UM, Mathews said.
The American Heart Association also holds an annual Go Red for Women heart health benefit in Missoula.
The Heart Walk in September also includes educational activities. Participants also will try to form the biggest heart heart made out of humans on campus during the event, Mathews said.