Over 60 University of New Mexico staff and faculty members stepped up to the challenge earlier this month and participated in the first ever Stadium Stair Challenge at University Stadium, hosted by UNM Employee Health Promotion. Participants walked or ran up and down hundreds of steps and had fun while doing it.

Health Educator Vanessa Roybal said UNM Employee Health Promotion (EHP) wanted to host an event that was fun and would bring the UNM community together. The Stadium Stair Challenge encouraged UNM staff and faculty of all fitness levels to train and join in. Roybal said it was called a challenge because EHP wanted to keep it lighthearted and fun for all who participated.

Staff & faculty climbing stairs
UNM staff and faculty took on hundreds of stairs at University Stadium. 

“The goal was to just finish —we didn’t want it to be a competition, we didn’t want it to be a race, we just wanted you to finish the challenge,” she said.

The event was a creative way to get the UNM community together to do something active. Roybal said events like this bring people together and help them to achieve things they didn’t think were possible.

“I think seeing the participant achieve something they didn’t think they could is really important,” Roybal said. “It didn’t matter if you ran marathons or if this was your first challenge — all types of people came and I thought it was great for the community to do that.”

Along with the main event, EHP held four professional training sessions in the weeks prior to prepare participants for the challenge. Reed Vawter, MS, RD, LD, taught a nutrition course, Fuel for Your Fitness. The fitness training classes were taught by Lauren Lewis, NASM-CPT. Roybal said that this challenge brought the members of the UNM community together and boosted confidence.

EHP has been catering to UNM staff and faculty for the past 20 years. The organization, which is a part of UNM Human Resources, focuses on the Pillars of Wellness and strives to meet the needs of employees at the University. Their top three areas of focus are on stress management, nutrition and fitness.

Stadium Stair Challenge

The challenge was very successful, Roybal said. The morning started with a warm-up session, and then the stair climb began. Participants went up and down about 1,600 stairs, the equivalent of just under a mile. At the end of the challenge, Lobo TV was there with cameras to capture the moment when participants crossed the finish line.

“It was a really, really fun event and hopefully we were able to build that confidence in people who didn’t think they could do something like this,” Roybal said.

Roybal said EHP hopes to grow the event and get sponsors in the years to come.