Our Mission & Approach
Our mission is to inspire, encourage, and motivate people to get and stay active.
If my long nursing career taught me anything, it’s that staying active is an essential key to health and longevity. That’s why we’ve made it the mission of this challenge to find ways to help people enjoy moving their body so much that it becomes a habit. We strive to help them discover all of the physical and mental benefits of exercise and to find activities that they enjoy so that regular activity becomes part of their everyday life instead of a chore. Then, we challenge them to go further, log more miles, try new things, have fun! This is the core of our challenge – the reason we are here.
Our Core Values
We share a commitment to natural resource stewardship with the preservation community and we embrace opportunities to contribute to that cause.
We deal honestly and fairly with the public, our members, and one another.
We strive to continually learn and improve so that we can strive to be the best version of ourselves and so that we can share our knowledge and skills with others.
We treat each other the way we would like to be treated and we embrace each other’s differences so that we may enrich the well-being of everyone.
We are genuinely concerned about other people and their needs and suspend judgement so that we can appreciate others’ perspectives and situations when they are different from our own.
Meet Our Team
Let me introduce myself. I’m a certified tree-hugger and nature lover and a retired nurse.
My love of the outdoors and my healthcare background combine to make me very passionate about motivating, supporting, and inspiring people to get and stay active – which is what this challenge is all about. This is most definitely my “Passion Project”.
My background is in biology, as I have a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Conservation Studies. I love animals and nature, so naturally, I enjoy being outdoors hiking, kayaking, or walking my adorable dog, a papillon named Clark. I bring my creativity and technical knowledge to this challenge doing everything from graphic design, website maintenance, and writing to provide the best 365 experience possible.
We have an amazing team of ambassadors. They are bloggers, writers, photographers, social media experts and all-around Badasses. Most importantly – they are all passionate about the mission of 365 Mile Challenge.
Hi, my name is Jennifer Smith, and I live in the north metro Atlanta, Georgia area. This is my 4th year doing the 365 Mile Challenge and I’m so excited to be an Ambassador this year. I’m a Stay At Home Mom with 3 very active boys (8, 7, and 2 years old) who are generally on the adventure with me, but if I get a chance for an adult only or a solo adventure, you will definitely hear about it. We love to hike, bike, kayak, geocache and work on junior ranger badges. We love to discover new places, and sometimes it’s just as much fun introducing my boys to a place I’ve been to before. Seeing it through their eyes makes it new to me as well.
I am recovering from a pretty significant injury and will be extremely slow getting my miles in this year as my rehab is going to take up a significant part of the year. Some days when the adventure is just “ok”, my favorite way to sum it up is “but I was OUTSIDE”. I have a feeling that this will be my mantra this year. I’m praying that as I share my struggle of getting active again, that I’ll be an inspiration to you, that yes, you can do it too!
Hi! My name is Yvonne Meares and I live in beautiful Northern Nevada. This is my 3rd year participating in the 365 Mile Challenge and I am excited to see where my feet take me this year. I am honored to be chosen as a 365 Mile Challenge Ambassador and hope that I can inspire others to get outside and that I can give back the level of support and inspiration I have received from others.
I love hiking, kayaking, fishing, and exploring new places. When I am not out exploring new places, I love home projects, reading, gardening and cooking – especially with ingredients from my garden!
Make every mile a fun adventure of discovery!
Yvonne’s Instagram: https://Instagram.com/meares.footpaths
Hello! I’m DiDi McPhillips and I always loved being outdoors. As a kid growing up in a small coastal town in Maine, we were always outside all year round. The woods have been my sanctuary ever since. The smell of pine needles in the summer sun will always take me back to those days of playing in the woods and exploring. I served in the Army for ten years and that got me out of New England. I spent a year in Korea, was stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington state (now called JBLM) and spent the rest of my Army years in southern Arizona. After I left the Army, I became a defense contractor and my moving around continued. I’ve lived in Arizona (twice!), Utah, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and now in Pennsylvania. If you have never hiked on the Colorado plateau, I cannot tell you how indescribably beautiful it is there. I hope to retire in the northern Arizona or southern Utah area. My biggest outdoor activities are hiking and photography. I hike to get to places I want to photograph. Every time I go somewhere new in this country, I am struck by how fortunate we are to have such a diverse and environmentally rich place to live. I am often struck with awe by nature.
I feel so lucky to be asked to be an ambassador for the 365 Challenge. This was my first year on the challenge and I set an ambitious goal for myself. I wanted to “quad” the miles for my first year. I met my goal but it was definitely with the help of this whole group. Seeing everyone’s pictures and hearing everyone’s stories kept me going when I didn’t feel like getting up and moving. I love being part of this organization and hope my stories and pictures inspire others to get up and get moving.
I’m Becky Drinnen and I’m a wife, mom, and grandma living in West Central Ohio. As a kid, I loved being outdoors. While my siblings were out playing ball with their friends, I was the kid sitting in the shade reading a book. My favorite place to ride my bike was to the library. My love of exploring nature on foot blossomed when I was an adult, during regular camping trips to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On the trails in the Smokies, I learned that moving my body in nature is so much more than exercise. It feeds me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I love travel, and I am always thrilled when I have an opportunity to explore a new place, especially our State and National Parks. As memorable as exploring new, scenic places may be, the miles I hold most dear are hometown walks with my husband or grandkids. Exploring our everyday world while walking and talking is a beautiful experience! I’ve learned so much about what is important to my grandkids when we spend time together walking. I’m honored to be an ambassador for the 365 Mile Challenge. The challenge is motivational and inspirational with a dose of accountability. My goal is to move my body every single day. In 2020, my first year as a 365er, I walked my 365th mile in Mesa Verde National Park in September. I had hoped to double in 2021, but my body had different plans. The miles have come more slowly than I had wanted this year. My goal is to offer inspiration on this journey we are all on to move our bodies and explore the world around us, each in our individual ways.
Tracy Bellisine Fitzwater
I’m Tracy Fitzwater, and I’ve been part of the 365 Mile Challenge for four years, and I’ve been an ambassador for one year. I am a retired teacher-librarian, and I taught in the same rural, K-12 school district for 37 years, but I’m really a librarian. I’ve been married for over 40 years to a retired forester, and our mid-30s son also works in the natural resources area.
I never thought of myself as athletic, but when I look back over the things I’ve done, I finally came to realize I’ve been doing athletic things for years. Growing up, my family never went camping, but when I moved to the Olympic Peninsula, I backpacked, climbed a mountain, ridden three Seattle-to-Portland events, plus a few organized rides, and walked. Prior to retiring, I began a yoga practice, and became interested in meditation. Through yoga, I began training for a half marathon with one of my yoga friends, and we did two together. My friend also talked me into fitness kickboxing, and after an injury sidelined me there, I started working with personal trainers, and I’ve been working out at my current gym for over a year. It’s taken me a long time to realize that I really am an athlete.
The 365 Mile Challenge has been the best thing for me. My first year, I barely made it to 365 miles, and each year I’ve added more miles. In 2020, I walked and rode 1095 miles – a triple. My goals for 2021 include, at the very least, another triple, although my son is encouraging a sextuple (6 x 365) – we’ll see about that! The half marathon we were supposed to do in 2020 got deferred to 2021, so there’s that. I’ll be riding my bike more. And there are lots of trails in Olympic National Park to still explore – did I mention it’s in my backyard? I’m still going to be writing book reviews, sewing, knitting, doing embroidery, and practicing yoga and meditating.
Tracy’s blog: https://selfpropelledtracyf.blogspot.com
Hello to All Fellow 365 Mile Challengers,
Just a little about my journey to this wonderful group. Grew up in the Marin County area until we moved to Fresno in 1969. I have always been an outdoor kind of gal ( almost a tomboy) from riding , showing & training horses till about 10yrs ago, working cattle on the ranch after I was married (32yrs ago) till we sold cattle, working as an Orthopedic Tech for 18 ½ years till taking time off to have our son (now 25), involved in Boy Scouting program as a Den Leader & then many positions in the Troop with our son from Tiger Cubs to Eagle Scout. This is where hiking, camping & backpacking came back into my life. I was a member of the Central Valley Hiking Meetup group for many years. I have been involved with the Kaiser Wilderness Foundation with trail work & volunteer as a docent at the Buck Rock Lookout in Sequoia National Forest. Went back to work at REI towards the end of my Scouting duties & was there for 4 1/2yrs. then COVID came along & after much soul searching decided to retire at almost 67yrs of age.
Joined 365MC group 4 years ago & has been a life & mind saver during this COVID -19 pandemic & motivated to get out everyday to get in miles with all of the various Park’s shutdown etc. It did & does help that we live on a 1,200-acre ranch along the San Joaquin River. I love the support we give each other during challenging times in our lives, health, injury etc. to keeping one foot in front of the other. I am looking forward to this next chapter in my life as an 365MC Ambassador.
Some of the things I enjoy-hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, walking on the beach, camping & backpacking. So, on that note, keep on, walking, running, hiking, biking, treadmilling, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, skiing & snowshoeing (might even have some climbers among you). What ever gets you moving.
Rosemarie (Rose) Coulthard
#moonrose (trail name with a story)
I’m 44 years old and full of love for the Great Outdoors. I currently live in Southern California and hiking is an important part of my life for several reasons. First of all, it is the only thing that quiets all the noise in my head. I’m constantly thinking and my brain is always going and it gets so tiring. When I’m outdoors I find myself at peace and everything quiets down and I can just be still. Also, having a stressful and crazy job where I often see the bad in this world, I enjoy being reminded of all the beauty there is. Meeting other good and kind outdoor adventurers is also a benefit. It reaffirms my faith in humanity. Most importantly, it’s been a great source of healing for me. I started hiking in 2014 as a way to cope with stress after my brother Robert had a relapse of leukemia, and it continued to help me heal after his heartbreaking death. I can feel Robert’s presence with me when I’m out in nature, and with every adventure I take and every mile I walk, I feel like I’m honoring his memory. I carry his picture with me on all my hikes. As well as my bighorn sheep buddy, Stanley. He’s almost always found peeking out of my backpack. I love exploring new places, especially when my awesome husband Fred is able to join me. I hope to continue hiking and exploring for many more years and want to help encourage other woman to get out there and find their passion.
My name is Jodi Hulst. I am absolutely thrilled to be an Ambassador for the 365 Mile Challenge! I have participated in the challenge since its beginning back in 2017. I call Northwest Washington State home where I live halfway between the mountains and the ocean and the hiking opportunities are endless.
I am a busy wife and mom to a 17 and 21 year old. I work in healthcare administration/finance and I do a fair amount of volunteer work. It was quite easy for me to go days, sometimes weeks, without getting outside for any meaningful length of time. Being out in nature grounds me and brings me a lot of peace. That is why the 365 Mile Challenge has worked so well for me! It keeps my focus on my own health and wellness and keeps me looking for opportunities to be outside getting miles in. As an Ambassador I hope to be able to inspire others whose life is just as busy to find this time for themselves, share tips on how to do that and show what the support of a community with like-minded individuals can do to help you achieve your goals! I love geocaching, travel, National Parks, Disney, reading and making memories with my family. I look forward to supporting you in your 365 Mile adventures!
I’m Bailey a roughly four-and-a-half-year-old lab mix. My mom, Betsy says I rescued her. I love to go hiking. So many things to smell. I get extra pets from people and littles. I meet other dogs and sometimes get to play. I love to play. Oh, and climb on things like trees and rocks. Playing in mud is so much fun!
When we are really lucky, we go what mom calls backpacking. We get to sleep outside! All of the smells from all of the strange animals. It is amazing. Except I have decided I don’t really care for bears and porcupine. They scare me a bit. But I love waking up in a tent snuggled up and warm. All the great sights and smells day after day. And we just keep walking, it is so great!
I love being outside as much as I can. When I am home, I just hang out in the front yard and greet the people, littles and play with my friends. My favorite is the lady who brings me treats and pets. She also brings something called “mail.” The dog park is so much fun too! Lots of running around. It is the only place my mom let me run naked, or without that long string tied to me.
I live in a place called Wisconsin where we have almost finished a long trail. I am not good at math, but mom says we have around 170 miles left of the over 1000-mile Ice Age Trail. I like to hike and be outside all year long. I really love to play in the snow too. My mom makes me come inside sometimes. She says something about it being “too cold.”
I am so excited to be an ambassador! I have been in this challenge since I rescued my mom. I get a mile a day and just try to do better each year. I look forward to sharing the journey of this challenge with you!