Mayor William R. “Rusty” Bailey III of Riverside led a group of residents for the Walk with the Mayor event March 14 from Ryan Bonaminio Park up Mt. Rubidoux in Riverside.
The walk began the kickoff of the Start R.I.G.H.T. Challenge of 2015.
Start R.I.G.H.T. stands for Riverside Is Getting Healthy Together and is a three-month challenge for Riverside residents to have an opportunity to get fit and live a healthy, more fulfilling lifestyle.
“Fifty-six percent of our population of Riverside is either overweight or obese. That is just unacceptable,” Bailey said. “We can’t continue to allow obesity to invade our city and invade ourselves.”
The kickoff gave residents resources such as weight measurement, exercise demonstrations and information on healthy living.
Bailey has used the bimonthly event to help inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.
“My philosophy is leading by example,” Bailey said. “As the mayor, I’m trying to lead by example (with) my family and my city by healthy eating and active living. We’re inspiring Riverside to get out and move, and the walk is one way to do that.”
Bailey’s predecessor, Ron O. Loveridge, started Walk with the Mayor as a way to get people to be more active, as well as present parts of Riverside that might be less known.
“The intent was to connect the dots between healthy living and quality of life and to show off all the cool things we have going in Riverside,” Bailey said. Bailey walked neighborhoods during his campaign in 2012 and said he wanted to keep the philosophy of getting out into neighborhoods.
He started Bike with the Mayor after coming into office, alternating every month with Walk with the Mayor.
He said it has been a good way to connect with the residents of Riverside, as well as show them the city’s assets.
“I want to spend 50 percent of my time in city hall and 50 percent of my time outside of city hall so I am accessible to the public,” Bailey said.
Stephanie Vaz Ferreira, sophomore architecture major, aid she enjoyed talking with the mayor during the event and would go again because she felt more involved with the city.
“I liked hearing him speak about the Start R.I.G.H.T. event and how it is all about Riverside working together to reach healthy goals,” Ferreira said. “I also liked that he said as a believer he really supports CBU’s global-mindedness and how we can use that to think locally.”
Ferreira expressed her encouragement for students to get involved and participate in walking with the mayor.
“It would allow us to be more involved locally and it’s an easy way to (give) a hand in decreasing high rates in Riverside like obesity, whether it’s participating or encouraging others,” Ferreira said.
The Start R.I.G.H.T. challenge ends June 13. The participant who loses the most weight will win a prize of $500 and two participants will be randomly selected for two additional $300 prizes.
“I liked the idea that Riverside is trying to get in shape and it’s a good opportunity to socialize, get a good workout and trim down at the same time,” said Rich Gardner, a participant in the event.
Lancers who are Riverside residents are able to register for the challenge at www.startrightriverside.com.