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50,000 Athlete Challenge Update #1

by Don

The 50,000 Athlete Challenge is about one week old, and already over 30 people have joined. I would first like to thank everyone who has joined for taking action. We together will change many people’s lives. I also want to thank all of you who have given me such great feedback and encouragement on the project. It means a lot to me, and is giving me the energy to pour myself into this. It really feels to me like I’m here on this earth to do this project.

I thought I’d provide an update, and share some of the comments I’ve received thus far from people who have joined, and also share some interesting statistics on how the athletes I’m interviewing compare in their health relative to the general population.


The following are some excerpts from posts and emails I’ve received.

Roe wrote:

After 30 years of faithful exercise, following my move to Alaska I got out of the habit. Now it’s been three years of fitful short lived attempts to get back into it, peppered with more excuses than successes. It’s time! Thanks, Don, this is a great idea. My first goal is to set up a program. Back by the end of this week with a plan!  


Gerri wrote:

First of all I need to find an exercise I like. I’m thinking maybe dancing. I used to take ballet right up until I had my daughter, and I couldn’t fit in my leotards anymore. I’m thinking maybe jazz or modern. I’ll dig into it.


Kim wrote:

I’m in. I returned to sports after many years due to the one moment of encouragement from a runner I had just met. If I could pass that favor on to someone I’d love it.


Linda wrote

You can count me in. This is a fantastic way to give back. I will join on Facebook and post for the rest of my running friends to become foot soliders as well. You just proved how running clears the head and fantastic ideas created…keep DREAMING BIG!!!


Sylvia wrote:

I’m in. Got inspired by the death of our wonderful pet and the realization that life is too short to find excuses for missing out on anything!


Max wrote:

Goal-drop 8-10lbs and break my 37 min 10k time I set in high school
Plan- haven’t ran consistently in 2 years so 25-35 miles a week to start and I need to do speed work after the first month. Maybe breaking 20 minutes in a 5k will be a good 3 month goal and look for the 10 k as a 6 month one.
Accountability- I need a log that is the only way I could achieve my goal.
I have been talking about this for a bit and my gf tried to get me out of bed early this morning and I didn’t want to. SO NOW I NEED TO! You have my word…Thanks


Many more like this. Isn’t this great!

OK, I’ve compiled a few statistics on how the athletes I’ve interviewed differ from the general population with respect to how they use medical care. I know the sample is small, but I think the numbers do tell us something.

In a 2005 survey the CDC found that 29.4% of the population from 45 to 65 went to the doctor’s office for something. In the small group I’ve interviewed, the percentage is actually quite a bit higher at 83%. Interesting, hah?

In the same survey, the CDC found the average number of office visits per person was 3.3. In the group I interviewed the average number of visits per person was 1.4.

The CDC found that 18% of the office visits were for preventive care, while the athletes I interviewed sought preventive care a whopping 69% for their visits.

The CDC found that 40% of the office visits were for Chronic conditions, while only 11% of the visits from the athletes were for such things.

In the general population 40% of the visits were for symptoms, while for the athletes only 19% were for symptoms.

Hypertension is the condition that accounts for the highest percentage of visits in the general population at 28%. Only 5% of the athletes I interviewed indicated that they had this condition.

The next two most prevalent conditions in the general population were arthritis and diabetes. None of the athletes I talked to mentioned either of these.


This is not scientific, but I think this data suggests that the athletes are much more likely to go to the doctor regularly for preventative care. I guess this makes sense, because they need their body to be in tip top condition to pursue their passion. One athlete I spoke to goes to the doctor 4 times per year for check-ups. He says that many of us change the oil in our car every three thousand miles religiously, so why wouldn’t we do the same for our bodies?


The data also suggests that the athletes tend to have fewer chronic conditions and get sick less. This is all the more reason to get 50,000 people to adopt the healthy habits of these athletes!

If you haven’t joined the 50,000 Athlete Challenge, please do. If you have, then get at it and spread the word. We’ve got lives to change.

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