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Shorewood family makes Step to it Challenge an annual tradition

Step to it and the Vos family

mom with children outside at a twins game

Tyler Vos (far left, age 9), along with his friend; sister, Ella (age 7); and mom, Bonnie at a Twins game in 2014, the first year he competed and won in his age group in Step to it. (Photo credit: Vos family)

Participants in Hennepin County’s annual Step to it Challenge track their steps throughout May for a chance to win Twins tickets. For most participants, the primary goal is to get outside and move more.

But for the Vos family from Shorewood, it has become an annual tradition with a big impact, particularly for sons Andrew and Tyler. They started competing – and winning – in Step to it in 2014. Since then, the challenge has sparked their competitive natures and love for running.

From running around the playground to 100 miles in a week

Bonnie Vos is the mother of Andrew, Tyler, and Ella and wife of Eric Vos. She enjoyed running but mostly stopped after having kids. When she heard about the Step to it Challenge through her kids’ school, she thought it would be great motivation to move more. She signed the family up and gave each of them a pedometer.

Sons Andrew and Tyler, ages 9 and 11 at the time, loved the competitive aspect of the challenge. They ran around the playground and jogged in place, trying to get more steps than their mom. Tyler won top stepper in the Shorewood youth category that year, and from then on, the family was hooked.

mom with children outside at a twins game

Andrew (age 14) at a Twins game with Bonnie and Ella (age 10) after he won top stepper in 2017. (Photo credit: Vos family)
By middle school, both Andrew and Tyler started running on the cross-country team at their school. After that, “I never beat them again,” said Bonnie. One of the two has won top stepper in the Shorewood youth age group each year since 2014.
Tyler described how Andrew created a “quirky little challenge” for himself a few years ago during Step to it. He decided to run 100 miles in a week, setting a new school record and winning Step to it. Not to be outdone, Tyler beat the record by running 101 miles in a week the next year. Unsurprisingly, he also won top stepper.

Fun for runners and non-runners alike

Andrew graduated high school and started college in Arizona last year. He’s currently preparing to try out for his school’s Division 1 track team. Tyler plans to continue the Step to it winning streak this year. He’s working on cutting down his mile time for track season and preparing to be captain of the cross-country team in the fall.

children walking on the twins field

Tyler (in red hat, age 14) walks onto the Twins field with Ella (in front, age 12) in 2019. (Photo credit: Vos family)

Highly competitive runners are more the exception than the rule in Step to it, even in the Vos family. Bonnie loves it as motivation to get outside and start walking and running more after the long winter. Eric is more of a biker, but the familial competition motivates him to find small ways to get more steps. For example, he'll park farther away than he needs to when he drives somewhere.

Bonnie emphasized how great the challenge is to do as a family. When the kids were younger, it prepared them for longer hikes on family trips to state parks. It also helped Andrew and Tyler discover and grow a love of movement. “When they were in grade school, they found out they liked movement and running, and Step to it tapped into that. When you’re young, you don’t know what sports you like or what you’re good at, but running is used in so many activities,” said Bonnie.
As the kids got older, Step to it brought the family together. Each week, they entered their steps together, talked about what they did, and looked for ways to get more steps. “It was always a good conversation piece to have around dinner time or when we got together as a family,” Bonnie shared.

Step to it success story

The Vos family shows that wherever you are on the spectrum of movement – adding a few more steps here and there, starting a regular walking or running routine, or pushing toward big fitness goals – the Step to it Challenge provides accountability and motivation. Whether you’re competing against yourself, family or friends, or aiming to win Twins tickets as top stepper in your city, Step to it is for you. Registration starts April 1.

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