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Town of Amherst competing in international walking challenge

The Amherst to Amherst walking challenge starts Feb. 1
Posted at 6:13 AM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 10:11:03-05

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — The town of Amherst is on a mission. It's now in an international competition between three different towns to see who can walk the furthest.

"And we’re gonna win," said Lisa Kistner, Assistant to the Amherst Town Supervisor.

It's Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada; Amherst, New Hampshire and our own Amherst, New York. This friendly competition started up in Canada when a town representative wanted to switch things up for their an annual walking challenge.

This walking challenge is all about getting active in your community
This walking challenge is all about getting active in your community

“We don’t have quite as many walkers as we normally do, so I got thought it would be fun to extend the challenge to the whole month and then I got to thinking, why don’t we bring in other Amhersts?" said Allison Watson, Active Living Coordinator, Amherst, Nova Scotia.

So she sent an email out to all 13 Amhersts she could find in North America. When we got word here in WNY, it was a no brainer.

"This is a great idea because there’s not much we can be doing this time of the year and COVID has restricted people so badly in getting in their normal health stuff," said Kistner.

Starting their walks in Amherst, N.S., each community is also challenged to see how many other communities named Amherst they can reach in North America as they travel a pre-determined route, and who can get there first.

The three Amhersts are almost 1,000 miles apart
The three Amhersts are almost 1,000 miles apart

"We have a map that we’re doing from Amherst to Amherst to Amherst," said Kistner.

It's all about getting out of the house and getting active in your community. Those who participate will go for a jog or walk, log their distance and send it in to the Town to be added to the total. And our Amherst might have an advantage.

“Those towns, quite frankly, they’re a lot smaller. They have about 12,000 population, we have 126,000 so I think we’ve got a pretty good chance," said Kistner.

The winner gets bragging rights and the satisfaction of being the best Amherst in North America. It runs through the entire month of February and anyone living in Amherst can participate. Just send an email to There's also a Facebook Event page.

"It’s really fun working with other towns, especially right now when we’re all feeling really isolated, I think this is a great way to bring people together," said Watson.

It’s also a great way to increase foot traffic in your community, maybe pop into a local business.

"And it would allow people to explore some stuff that maybe they’ve never taken the time to do," said Kistner.

So lace up your sneakers or boots and may the best Amherst win.