Alabamians are encouraged to get outside and walk, run, hike, bike, swim, paddle, ride or roll with family and friends at the state's parks, nature preserves and rivers during the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge.

A new statewide public program presented by the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and other partnering organizations, the challenge officially starts Saturday with kick-off events planned around the state. The largest event will take place at Railroad Park in Birmingham at 9 a.m. Saturday and will feature celebrity spokesman Noah Galloway, a veteran of the United States Army, extreme race competitor and motivational speaker who was recently a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars." Galloway will lead attendees on a 1-mile walk around Railroad Park as a symbolic “first mile” of the challenge for 2018.

Organizers invite the public to register for the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge at www.100alabamamiles.org, where they will earn electronic badges for milestones they reach and places they visit as they log their miles of activity. The website enables participants to find recreational trails throughout the state, track their progress individually and by teams, and to get important safety and wellness information before they head outside. Participants can take the challenge with friends and family, have friendly competitions with others and share their experiences through the program’s social media platforms.

Participants in the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge can use the #100ALMiles hashtag to share photos and experiences across social media as they rack up their mileage.

“As an ongoing program, the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge will be an important tool to support economic development across our state through recreational tourism,” said Brian Rushing, the program’s coordinator and director of economic development Initiatives at UACED. “Alabama has so many wonderful parks and beautiful natural areas, and we hope this program inspires people to seek out a previously unvisited trail or park to get outside and get to their 100 miles goal.”