With the kickoff walk of the Get Fit Franklin project just a few weeks away, hundreds of Franklin residents have registered for the program, presented by Franklin Tomorrow with founding partner BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

The distance walking project is designed to encourage residents to take the first steps to a healthier, more active community by stepping out their front door. Get Fit Franklin will provide residents with pre-measured and marked walking routes in an effort to increase the level of physical activity among the city’s residents. All routes use existing sidewalk networks where available.

You can register as an individual, family, corporate team, neighborhood or walking group or in the most popular category to date — families. The online registration tool for the program allows you to choose which category you register in and register multiple individuals.

“It is our hope that through the Get Fit Franklin project, families can maybe find a new definition for ‘happy hour’ that involves physical activity of some sort, whether that is walking on one of the routes identified on the Web site, visiting a city park, or just tossing a football around in the front yard,” said Mindy Tate, Franklin Tomorrow executive director.

The kickoff event on Nov. 17 at Pinkerton Park, 405 Murfreesboro Road, will provide an opportunity to those who pre-register to pick up their Get Fit Franklin t-shirt and pedometer, as well as other items to support their efforts to get fit.

To register, go to www.getfitfranklintn.org. The first 500 participants to register for the program will receive t-shirts and other promotional materials during the kick-off walk, set for Nov. 17 at Pinkerton Park, with Franklin Mayor Ken Moore. The event will be held from 10 a.m.-noon, and will include health screenings, information from the Franklin Police and Fire Departments on road safety and basic first aid, as well as light refreshments from The Bean in The Maples Shopping Center and New York Bagel Cafe & Deli in Gateway Village.

Initial routes will focus on three areas of the city, said Tate, who has worked with Franklin Streets, Parks, Police and Administration Departments to identify routes in the areas of Fieldstone Farms/Williamson County Rec Center, Downtown Franklin, and McKay’s Mill/East Franklin/Carothers Parkway.

“These areas feature existing sidewalk networks with very walkable routes for beginners, but also interconnect and provide access to Franklin and Williamson County park facilities, as well as other trail networks,” Tate said. “These routes are just the first we have identified, with a specific focus on safety for participants.”

As the Get Fit Franklin Web site continues to develop participants will be able to add their fitness routes, as well as join walking groups in their community.

Statistics show the average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs 7 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.

Additional sponsors of the event include the City of Franklin • Middle Tennessee Electric Customer Cares Inc. • BancorpSouth • Turner Construction • The Tennessean • Williamson Medical Center • Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Supporting the project are the Franklin Special School District • Williamson County Parks & Recreation Dept. • Franklin Mayor Ken Moore • The TMA Group • Williamson County Health Department • PMC Mobile Solutions • Franklin Synergy Bank • ActiveBuys.com • Downtown Franklin Association • The Bean • New York Bagel Cafe & Deli • Williamson Herald • YOUR Williamson.