Walk Across Maryland gets town moving

September 19, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

HANCOCK -- At its skinniest point, less than two miles of Maryland lies between the Mason-Dixon Line and the Potomac River, yet this small stretch of the state has become the trek one doctor is using to motivate his town to get up and get moving.

The annual Walk Across Maryland in Hancock shows participants that in 30 minutes, not only can they improve their health, they can traverse an entire state, Dr. Matthew Hahn said.

"It's a great way to call attention to the need for physical fitness and the fact that Hancock has many beautiful places to walk," he said.

More than 100 people from the Tri-State area walked Saturday in the third annual event. Stretching more than half a mile, the line of walkers in maroon shirts made its way along Pennsylvania Avenue to the tunes of guitars and squeezeboxes.


Hahn said he treats patients daily for ailments that could be greatly helped by exercise.

"Exercise is the fountain of youth," he said. "It can prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity and many cancers."

As Les Golden of Roundtop, Md., made his way to the Potomac, he said he has had his shoulder replaced and suffers with pain in his knees and back.

Walking on Saturday was a step toward changing his life.

"I'm a great-grandfather and I want to be around as long as I can to see (my great-grandchildren) grow up," Golden said.

The first time Carol Barkdoll of Hancock tried to walk across Maryland, she said she did not make it the entire 1.8 miles.

This time, she was determined to make it to the river.

"Man, I really walked across Maryland," Barkdoll said. "Even though it is the smallest part of Maryland, I walked across it."

Walk Across Maryland also marks the beginning of a wellness challenge called the Health Olympics, which is sponsored by Hahn and Nelson Family Medicine.

Dr. Marilyn Nelson said the 60-day challenge helps patients get on a path toward wellness.

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