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City of Phoenix kicks off new fitness campaign

A banner for the new FitPhx fitness campaign is shown. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

Dozens of valley school kids showed up at Phoenix College on Wednesday to participate in the first day of a City of Phoenix fitness initiative.

"We learned that Phoenix ranked 26th out of 50 [large cities] in the American Fitness Index [for health and community fitness status]," Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela told those in attendance.

The Phoenix City Council knows that the city has room for improvement, but Valenzuela has a set a goal.

"We knew that there was a lot of work to do and a lot of potential," he said. "We know that it is an achieveable goal to not only be in the top 10, but for Phoenix to be the top city in the country [on the AFI list]."

To reach his goal, Valenzuela announced the start of the FitPhx campaign.

"FitPhx is a comprehensive program that will connect hundreds of programs to people throughout the city of Phoenix who are interested in achieving a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise," Valenzuela said.

Olympic Gold Medalist and Phoenix resident Misty Hyman said there's no reason that people in Phoenix can't get more exercise.

"Here in Phoenix, we have amazing resources, and amazing facilities and we have amazing weather to top it all off," she said. "This is a perfect place for everyone to get outside, be active and have a healthier lifestyle."

Wednesday's event included Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton leading the kids and a group from an area senior center in exercises. Stanton then beat Valenzuela and Hyman in a foot race on the track.

The campaign will use social media, community events and partnerships to encourage exercise. A website is in the planning stages.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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