Social distancing sign

A sign along the Dakota Rail Regional Trail at North Shore Drive in Orono reminds people to stay six feet away from others.

The annual step to it challenge begins May 1, and cities are encouraging residents to participate.

The city of Plymouth in an April 14 news release encouraged residents to sign up for the challenge, which pits 25 communities against one another. The most active communities, individuals, schools and worksites are recognized and awarded prizes at the end of the four-week competition.

Other area communities that are listed as partners in the challenge are Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Maple Plain, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Orono, Shorewood and Wayzata.

Bragging rights and trophies will go to the top three communities in the categories of most active community, most active residents and most actively engaged community, the release said. Activities that count toward the challenge include walking, biking, running, cleaning, gardening and playing with children.

Participants can register for the challenge on and then track their daily activity using a fitness tracker/watch, pedometer or a conversion chart on the website.

This annual event is one of few that hasn’t been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic due to the fact that it can be done individually on one’s own time. That being said, residents are encouraged to practice social distancing and avoid group congregating when getting your steps in.

Melissa Turtinen is the community editor for Lakeshore Weekly News and Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.