PIKEVILLE — Renewed interest in the Hatfield and McCoy feud will be coupled with growing concern about floundering health statistics in Appalachia, with the introduction of the first annual “Hatfield and McCoy Healthy Feud.”
Residents of Pike County, in Kentucky, and Boone, Mingo and Logan counties, in West Virginia, are being challenged to challenge each other, using the West Virginia University Hospitals “Walk 100 Miles in 100 Days” program.
Adam Flack, executive director at West Virginia on the Move, says the program has been successful over the past 20 years in getting over 5,000 people a year up and moving.
“Adding a mile of sustained walking a day can greatly reduce one’s risk of future Heart Attack and Coronary Artery Disease,” Flack said. “With 100 days of participation, most people find the habit easy to keep after the program’s end. We are excited to expand this program to other counties and states.”
Now, the program is getting a hillbilly twist, with its coupling to the Hatfield and McCoy feud. Beginning Sept. 9, teams in each county will begin tracking the number of miles team members walk for the next 100 days. Organizers are hoping that introducing and element of competition into the mix will inspire people to commit to the challenge more strongly.
“This is a great opportunity to involve the rich history of the Hatfields and McCoys when it comes to getting fit in West Virginia and Kentucky,” said Alexis Batausa, who is a Health and Wellness Promoter at the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition. “This program will help bring us all together to become more active in our communities—- and to compete in a healthy way.”
David Hatfield, president of the Tug Valley Road Runners Club and also a descendent of the infamous Hatfields, said that he thinks this is a great opportunity to connect heritage to health.
“If you take a look at our history when the Scottish/Irish settlers began moving here in the 1700s, they had rugged terrain to settle. It took a special person to stay in a place like this— to grow crops, hunt game, etc. To survive this environment, and lead a normal life with what we have here— it just was a tough existence,” Hatfield said. “I think if you want to become as tough as the Hatfields and McCoys, you should do the 100 day challenge.”
Roger Ford, Chairman of Sustainable Pike County and a descendent of the legendary McCoy clan, had similar thoughts to Hatfield’s.
“The idea of a ‘healthy feud’ will challenge participants to connect the history of the region with getting healthy. Our ancestors, on both sides of the Tug Fork, settled this region with true grit and determination. The region was rugged and it took a person who was physically fit to walk the hills here. They grew their own crops—growing corn and other staples on hillside farms—and carved out a better life here in the mountains. I’d say that the new ‘healthy feud’ will unite the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, and rally others in our area, to succeed in walking 100 miles in 100 days.”
Sept. 6 is the deadline for teams to register for the challenge. Teams can have between five and 20 members.
Registration forms can be found at participating county agencies, or you can register online by sending an email to email@example.com including your team name, team captain and the team captain’s email address. Instructions for online registration will be emailed back to you. At the end of the program, once each individual has completed their 100 miles, they can receive a commemorative t-shirt for only $6.
For questions, or to become part of the healthy feud, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 304-235-3400 or visit www.mingodiabetes.com or http://www.sustainablepikecounty.com/.