CEDAR RAPIDS — The challenge for 2020 — How many times can you climb Mount Trashmore?
The Czech Village — NewBo District has launched a fitness initiative called the Mount Trashmore Challenge that would run from April through October, pending weather. The idea is to get up and down the heaping mound formed from an old landfill as many times as possible in the seven months.
“We all need to be out exercising,” said Monica Vernon, co-executive director of the district. “My parents are exercising in the basement. That’s not very inspiring. Walking around a track, I get very bored. Going up Mount Trashmore, you get this great vista as a reward.”
The challenge includes eight levels of goals matching the distances to real-world achievements. The first milestone, for example, is two trips up and down, which equals the height of the Alliant Tower in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Four trips equals the height of Snezka, the Czech Republic’s highest point. Nine trips equals the height of the new One World Trade Center in New York City. Twenty trips equals the height of Mount Vesuvius in Italy, and 140 trips equals the highest point on earth — the peak at Mount Everest in Nepal, according to the District.
The challenge costs $35 to participate and includes a T-shirt and an app that would track trips up Mount Trashmore using geocoding. People can register at trashmorechallenge.com.
So far, there are 100 signups and staff will have a table set up at NewBo City Market on the third Thursday of each month, where people can collect T-shirts and other information about the event, said Abby Huff, the other co-executive director of the district.
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In 2018, Mount Trashmore was outfitted with hiking and biking trails as well as an overlook pavilion at the top with panoramic views of downtown Cedar Rapids and beyond. The peak of Mount Trashmore is 948 feet.
Challenge participants can bike, walk or run — while noting their activity type in the app — and go at their own pace, Vernon said.
“We don’t care how you do it,” Vernon said. “There is no judgment whether someone is trying to get to Everest or Mount Olympus. Go at your own pace.”
Joe Horaney, a spokesman for the Solid Waste Agency, which manages Mount Trashmore, said they are supportive of the challenge. He noted it is a regulated site so people have to sign in to access the Mount Trashmore trails and can only do so during hours of operation. The trails are closed for the winter and in-season hours can vary based on weather and trail conditions.
“This means more exposure for the trails,” Horaney said. “We are working this year to make Mount Trashmore more accessible and add more hours for folks to come. We find when people use it they keep coming back.”
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