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March 04, 2021

DES MOINES, IA – Officials from Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® announced the return of the Wellmark Set the Pace Challenge. The challenge encourages Iowans to develop sustainable, healthy habits throughout 2021 — starting with participating in the virtual Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark that runs April 17 through 25.

As part of the challenge, the community in Iowa with the highest percentage of its residents participating in the virtual Grand Blue Mile — measured by the number of registrants for a given ZIP code against its total population — will be awarded $10,000 to use on a project that promotes safe, inclusive and accessible places in which to be active, such as a park, playground or trail.

"At a time when improving our personal and collective well-being is so important, we're hopeful the return of this challenge can serve as a springboard for Iowans to prioritize their fitness," said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark's senior brand marketing manager and Grand Blue Mile co-race director. "Wellmark is passionate about promoting community health and this award provides a great incentive for residents to rally around in making a positive difference for Iowa. The benefits are two-fold: participants will be engaging in a fun, physical activity, all while making a concerted effort to better their communities."

Previous winners of Wellmark's Set the Pace Challenge include Urbandale, Lohrville and Odebolt. These communities successfully rallied their residents to take the top prize — each investing the award in projects that improved their built environment and encouraged physical activity. Additional information and resources, including past project videos and a digital toolkit for communities are available here External Site.

Register today

Registration for the 2021 virtual Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark is now open at grandbluemile.com External Site. For just $10 each, participants receive a 2021 Grand Blue Mile event shirt and race bib shipped directly to their door. As part of Wellmark's commitment to improving the health of Iowans, all proceeds benefit Iowa Kidstrong youth fitness programs and support student participation in the annual Drake Relays.