On the Saha'tapa Loop Trail.

Two hikers enjoying Saha'tapa Loop Trail during the 2021 Fresh Air Challenge.

Redlands Conservancy once again offers a way to remove all the pounds people gain during the holidays, as it returns the Fresh Air Challenge to Go a Million Miles in a Month during January 2022. The event was created at the end of 2020 to provide a COVID-safe way to raise money and awareness by inviting any Redlands resident or friend to walk, cycle or horseback-ride all over Redlands (or anywhere else) and record the miles covered, all to meet the million-mile challenge.

Event organizer Kathy Behrens said the first event, during January 2021, involved more than 300 participants who recorded a total of 27,000 miles.

“We didn't quite make a million miles, but it's possible, if every one of the 70,000 Redlands residents traveled a mere 15 miles throughout the month,” Behrens said. “At the very least, the event brings everyone outdoors to our wonderful trail system or neighborhoods or shady streets, by themselves or with family and friends.”

In fact, Behrens says, non-motorized travel anywhere, in Redlands or otherwise, can be counted for registrants.

Registration starts on Monday, Nov. 15. Adults can register at $40 per person and children/students are free. This year's registration includes a special event T-shirt, which for the first year, was given to only those participants who raised money through pledges and donations.

“The tee shirt was so lovely, and this year's is just as nice, that we want everyone to have one, and wear it all over town,” Behrens said.

According to Behrens, the funds raised for the event will be used to maintain the city's open space and trails and to provide funds for the outdoor education program. The city of Redlands is a co-sponsor of the event.

Behrens is introducing several new features, besides a T-shirt for everyone. The event will include a School Challenge, inviting each public or private Redlands school to set up a team of students and/or staff to record a collective number of miles. All the miles that every student (and their family) walk, run, cycle or ride will count for that school's team. The school with the most total miles recorded will win the challenge — and an ice cream party after the month is over.

Also new this year is the recording system. Behrens explains that participants will be able to record their miles directly from their own devices, such as Fitbits, Strava, or other tracking software.

At 9 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2, the Fresh Air Challenge will be officially launched with an opening event at Ed Hales Park in downtown Redlands. There, people can register if they have not already done so, and those that pre-registered will receive their tee shirts and will start covering the miles. There will be food and refreshments and entertainment. People who register at the opening event will receive their T-shirts at the end of the month.