Graniterock teams scale virtual Mt. Whitney in fitness contest

When Hongbin Xie heard about the Company's fitness challenge this past summer, he formed a team of serious competitors in the RTS Department and set out to not only win, but win by a landslide.

Hongbin and his teammates for Graniterock's Top of the Rock Team Challenge walked or ran an average of 943,871 steps from Aug. 13 to Sept. 30, enough to scale the virtual Mt. Whitney twice and beat the seven other teams by a wide margin.

The fitness challenge was organized by Health and Wellness Manager Stephanie Kniffin in the Corporate Office to encourage healthy habits among Graniterock People as part of the Healthy Me program.

Participants wore Fitbit bracelets or other pedometer devices to track their steps. They kept a close eye on each other's physical activity through a website where they uploaded their daily activity.

Hongbin and his teammates Angie Solorio, Brian Winter, Greg Wilkinson and Pio Ramirez called themselves The Force and proved the name true as they soared past the second place team of Cheryl Hatley, Elizabeth Sanchez, Jason Sanchez, Lucia Rivera, Stephanie Rodriguez and Victoria Gonzales - the Red Hot Chili Steppers.

The Red Hot Chili Steppers averaged 772,646 steps during the 49-day contest.

Third place finishers were the Walkaholics with an average 449,313 steps - Jessica Snow, Alissa Miller, Amy Furman, Angela Montes, Cathy Garcia, Diana Alarcon and Jason Alger.

Hongbin also finished first amongst all individual competitors by completing 1,550,458 steps. Elizabeth came in second with 1,078,849 steps.

Several individuals made the trek to Mt. Whitney by finishing with more than 550,000 steps, and they each received a First Aid kit for the effort - Pio Ramirez, Cheryl Hatley, Greg Wilkinson, Amy Furman, Lucia Rivera, Stephanie Rodriguez, Brian Winter, Cathy Garcia, Linda Hartshorn, Victoria Gonzales, Cathy Francini and Stacey Hyland.

The Force and Red Hot Chili Steppers celebrated all the walking and running with a catered lunch at the Quarry on Oct. 16. Each member of The Force was awarded a $50 gift card and Red Hot Chili Peppers each received a $25 gift card.

In addition, Hongbin received a $100 gift card and Elizabeth was given one for $50.

Shirley Ow and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation helped facilitate the step competition for Graniterock.