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Employees, researchers had nine weeks to walk 5,000 miles. They did it in four.
Erin Lorraine Broberg

In July, employees and researchers at Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) kicked off a walk to CERN. This week, they turned back around.

“Already, we have walked a combined 5,482 miles, which exceeded our goal of 5,000 miles to CERN!” said Michelle Andresen, ESH Safety Coordinator and member of the Working Wellness Group (WWG), the team that coordinates the walking challenge.

Sanford Lab’s summer walking initiative challenged employees and researchers to make the metaphorical trek from Lead to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. As a facility, the ultimate goal was a combined 5,000 miles—roughly the one-way distance from Sanford Lab in Lead, South Dakota, to CERN’s location in Switzerland.

The WWG gave employees and researchers nine weeks to complete the journey. They did it in four.

“I’ve been thinking we should rename this challenge ‘SURF to CERN…and back,’” said Andresen.

Employees and researchers will continue to track their progress, competing as teams and individuals, and completing other activities, like weightlifting and biking, for additional points. The challenge will run until September, encouraging participants to be physically active day to day.

The Environmental, Safety and Health, and Quality Assurance Department at Sanford Underground Research Facility promotes health and safety in the workplace, as well as healthy living and wellness for all employees. If you have questions about health and wellness, please contact our occupational health nurse, Laura Baatz, who is onsite daily at