Walk to Tuk organizers say this year’s event is more important than ever as the raging COVID-19 pandemic has increased anxieties for many.
Bri Krekoski is the active communities director for the NWT Recreation and Parks Association.
“I think times are feeling a little bit darker lately with the pandemic. And people are having a hard time engaging and connecting with one another,” she says. “And so we’re really excited that the Walk to Tuk is back this year to help people to stay safe, but also engage with each other across the territory.”
Krekoski says the event is a perfect socially-distanced activity for people to participate in.
“Just because you can’t be together in person doesn’t mean you can’t engage in this really exciting healthy activity together,” she says.
Walk to Tuk is an exercise challenge where residents form teams of up to 20 people and walk, run, bike, swim or ski a total distance of 1,658 kilometers. This is equal to walking from Zhatıé Kų́ę́ (Fort Providence) to Tuktuuyaqtuuq (Tuktoyaktuk) along the Mackenzie River — which Krekoski says was specifically chosen to represent the event.
“We all know where the big river is [Mackenzie River] and we we can all identify with that landmark,” Krekoski says.
Distances traveled by teams are tracked online and participants have from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28 to complete the distance.
The 2020 event saw teams from 26 different communities participate, but Krekoski says this year the goal is even bigger.
“Our big goal this year is to get somebody, some team from every single community engaged this year. And I do really think we can do it,” she concludes.
The event is in its 11th year, beginning as a way to encourage exercise and outdoor activities in the coldest months of the year.
“Participation in different programs and activity levels were decreasing at that time of year because it is so cold and dark in January and February,” Krekoski says. “And so [NWTRPA] thought, you know, how can we get people motivated to stay healthy and keep moving and stay engaged during that time.”
Anyone interested in participating can register for Walk to Tuk here.