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LAKE WACCAMAW, NC (WWAY) – For most of us Labor Day is a day of rest, but one Columbus County community is using it as a way to get in shape.

Started in the 1950s as a friendly challenge, “Take the Lake” has become a Labor Day tradition for Columbus County residents who are trying to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The three-day challenge has four events: swimming, walking, paddling, and biking. Ages of contestants in “Take the Lake” range anywhere from 8 to 80.

“Take the lake itself is not necessarily a race. It’s not competitive,” said Eric Brandt, an organizer of the event. “We don’t post times. We post people’s alphabetical accomplishments not necessarily in the order of their times. This is about improving health. It’s not about being a superstar.”

“We’re considered one of the unhealthiest counties in the state, so this here really shows we’re fighting back,” spectator Wayne Inman said.

Residents of Lake Waccamaw rally around the event by turning their homes into pit stops for competitors by offering water, rest and encouragement.

For the fourth year in a row more than one thousand people participated in the free event with close to 700 riders taking part in the cycling event alone.

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