Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and Hubbard Radio are posing a community health challenge to the residents of Crow Wing County with a chance to win big grand prizes: a $2,000 travel voucher for adults and a new bicycle for youths.

Registration is now open; the first week of the challenge begins March 31 and continues until the goal is reached.

Named March the Mississippi, the challenge is designed to give people extra motivation to start exercising or to keep exercising and hopefully continue the activity as part of a healthy lifestyle commitment. Participants will follow the Mississippi River State Trail from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico and back, a total of 4,700 miles. The challenge is based on exercising the collective number of miles to reach a community goal.

"CRMC is excited to launch March the Mississippi to build on the lifestyle habits that create an overall sense of health and well-being," said CEO Kyle Bauer, in a news release. "We hope numerous people sign up and exercise enough miles the first week to help us reach a destination outside of Minnesota."

"We are honored to partner with CRMC and know that an active community is a healthy community and look forward to energizing the Brainerd Lakes area," said Hubbard Radio General Manager Jeff Hilborn.

Residents of Crow Wing County age 18 and older are eligible to participate in the adult challenge and all those age 17 and younger are encouraged to participate in the youth challenge. Each of the groups will track the 4,700 miles independently.

Participants can find more information about the challenge, the registration link and record miles at www.crmchealthchallenge.org. Each week the number of miles achieved will be updated on the challenge website. Weekly prizes will also be awarded and announced on CRMC's Facebook page and on WJJY Radio.

When the community reaches the goal, a winner of all participants will be drawn at random for the travel voucher good to the winner's destination of choice. The youths with the most activity recorded will receive the new bicycle and his or her school's athletic department will also receive a $500 donation. The prizes will be awarded at the grand opening of CRMC's new Breezy Point Clinic planned for June 22.

CRMC developed the challenge as part of its Community Health Needs Assessment strategies to address the area's health needs and identified issues. Research shows 64 percent of adults in Crow Wing County are not meeting recommended physical activity and 66 percent of them are overweight or obese. Another 8 to 30 percent of students are not physically active at least five of seven days a week and 7 to 14 percent of them describe themselves as overweight or obese.

For more information on the challenge, visit www.cuyunamed.org or call 218-545-4447.