Ready, set go … new 100 Miles challenge commences

The second annual American Legion 100 Miles for Hope is off and running, walking, cycling and engaging participants in dozens of other wellness activities while supporting disabled veterans and military families in need.

American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford kicked off his journey on the first day of the challenge that goes from April 1 through Sept. 6. During those 160 days, participants can set a goal to complete 100 activities — or more — of at least 30 minutes in duration. For those who register with the Kilter app (click here to learn about the two options for signing up), more than 40 different activities can be counted toward the goal. Additionally, app users can manually enter activities not listed on the app such as riding a motorcycle or gardening.

Already, more than 1,000 participants have signed up. For questions about registration, activities, fundraising and more, please review the frequently asked questions.

While the challenge helps individuals improve or maintain their fitness and wellness, the campaign features a greater good. All proceeds from registrations, purchases of special 100 Miles for Hope gear at Emblem Sales and individual donations support The American Legion Veterans & Children Foundation (V&CF).

“You have your choice to walk, run, swim, do yoga or dozens of other activities,” Oxford said. “But the end result is the same — your participation provides support the V&CF needs. Through proceeds raised by our inspiring 100 Miles for Hope participants, our accredited American Legion service officers will be able to continue providing free assistance to disabled veterans in need of benefits help. Additionally, struggling military families with minor children at home will get the financial assistance they need and deserve.”

This year, The American Legion reduced the cost of the entry fee to $20. Everyone who signs up will receive a medal later this summer. To provide more funds for the V&CF, The American Legion expanded the options for 100 Miles items available for purchase at Emblem Sales. Visit this web page to view the collection that includes tech shirts, sweatshirts, caps, hat pins, challenge coins and a patch for Riders vests. All proceeds from sales go to the foundation.

After registration, American Legion Family members are encouraged to involve their communities. Extending invitations to other veterans groups like Team Red, White & Blue, youth organizations like the Boy Scouts, churches, other civic groups like Rotary and even sports teams like a high school cross-country team could all be beneficial. To support departments, districts and posts in this effort, resource materials have been made available by national. You can find press releases, videos and more here.

In fact, an American Legion post in South Dakota is already planning activities for its Riders chapter as well as community members who are quilters or knitters.

And that, Oxford says, illustrates one of the improvements in this year’s challenge over the inaugural one. Literally anyone can participate in this year’s challenge, improving their wellness and boosting financial resources for the V&CF. The foundation funds the work of accredited American Legion service officers who provide free assistance to disabled veterans who need a hand with getting their earned benefits. Additionally, V&CF funds grants for military families with minor children at home who are experiencing a dire financial situation through no fault of their own.

“We have been through a lot in the past year,” Oxford concluded. “The pandemic has continued to complicate how many of us function. And some of us have had to deal with miserable weather this past winter and more recently in the spring. In fact, just the other day, I was fortunate to have my umbrella on my walk. But that is one of the things I like best about the improvements for this year’s challenge. For those who sign up on the app, we are counting activities not miles. So indoor activities like yoga, training at fitness centers or at home, volunteering, riding a stationary bike or walking on an elliptical or treadmill all count toward the goal of 100 activities.”