Fitness challenges come into full bloom this weekend

The Push-Up & Up Challenge Charleston includes a division for students.

More than 300 people on 50 six-person teams will be showing their muscles, figuratively and literally, in fighting a major problem: dropping out of high school.

Originally conceived in 2007 and retooled in 2012, the annual Push-Up & Up Challenge Charleston brings local students and adults, representing local businesses and health clubs, together for a team push-up competition.

This year's event will start at 9:20 a.m. Saturday at Marion Square.

Last year's event drew 47 teams who did a combined 93,139 push ups and raised $45,000 for Communities in Schools, a nonprofit that works to encourage local at-risk students to stay in school.

Mindelle Ziff, who took over the event in 2011, is looking forward to Saturday's challenge, which looks like it will surpass last year's numbers.

"We have defined the push-up as a metaphor for success through goal-setting and incrementalism. If you can do one, you can do 100," says Ziff. "It's been rewarding to see how many companies and schools have embraced the wellness and team-building benefits of the Push-Up & Up Challenge."

The event also dovetails well with corporate wellness programs and team building. Carolina One has seven teams from different offices. Benefitfocus and the Medical University of South Carolina have three teams each. Suntrust, South Carolina Electric & Gas, SIB Consulting and Butcher & Bee also will all field a team.

And it's not too late to sign up for the event.

To compete in the Open and Competitive divisions, team registration is $150 ($25 per person). Each team's goal is to raise at least $1,000 toward Communities in Schools' dropout prevention programs. The school division is free to register, but school teams are asked to seek sponsorships of $500 to earn free T-shirts.

On Sunday, the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series is kicking off its 24th year of challenging local triathletes, from newbies to Ironmen and women, to the area's longest running triathlon event.

The five-race series is a cornerstone of the summer for many local triathletes, many of whom cross over from one of the three disciplines for the relatively "do-able" 600-yard pond swim, 12-mile bike and 5K run at James Island County Park.

Other races will be June 15, July 6 and 27, and Aug. 10, which is the championship race. Races begin at 7:15 a.m. Each one is capped at 400 registrants, who can compete in an array of categories included open/elite, age groups, high school division and for the heavier set, the Clydesdale and Athena divisions.

The fees range from $50 for an individual race to $245 for a participant who does not live in Charleston County and wants to register for all five races. Registering for three or more races offers a discount.


The triathlon series isn't the only series in Charleston. Two other series, the Bulldog Breakaway 5K series and the Capers Island ECOrun, will be held today and Sunday, respectively.

The first of five Bulldog Breakaway races will be at 6:30 p.m. today at The Citadel track. The cost is $20. The other races will be June 5, 12, 26 and July 10.

The third of four Capers Island ECOruns, a beach 10K and 5K, will be 2-5 p.m. Sunday. The fee is $40 and includes a ferry boat ride to and from the island.

Cyclists of all abilities are invited to ride the final four miles of Steve Pulley's 3,133-mile Ride4Recovery, from Alhambra Hall in Mount Pleasant to the beach on Sullivan's Island. Meet at Alhambra at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Pulley is a former local heroin addict who landed in the hospital four different times because of overdoses, but became sober on March 23, 2008, graduated from college in December 2013, and will soon enter the Medical University of South Carolina's doctoral program for physical therapy.

Following the ceremonial dipping of his bike in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, those who join him are invited to a luncheon celebration on nearby Goldbug Island, located at the base of the Ben Sawyer Bridge.

Those attending the lunch will be able to give donations to MUSC's Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs and purchase silent auction items to benefit the program.

Saturday's The Ripple Effect is a surfing event for children with autism and their families.

The event, held noon-5 p.m. on the beach at East 3rd Street on Folly Beach, will feature live music and surfing instructors who will work with each child registered to participate to allow him or her to experience the joy of surfing.

In addition to building community, this event aims to raise money to build a safe play area on the grounds of the clinic area of Charleston Autism Academy, a nonprofit providing autism therapy services to school-aged children.


In advance of the Wahine Surf Classic, McKevlin's Surf Shop will present a bikini fashion show from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at the Bohemian Bull, 1531 Folly Road.

The event will feature suits by Sensi-Graves, Seea and Imsy, live music by Yellowknife and free giveaways.

Harry Farthing, a locally based adventure traveler, will present a slide show and sign copies of his first book, "Summit," at 5 p.m. Saturday at The Backpacker, in the Belle Hall Shopping Center in Mount Pleasant.

Born in England in 1964, Farthing has had a lifelong interest in exploration, archaeology and world history. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has travelled widely to extreme environments such as the Sahara Desert, the Himalayas, the Amazon and the Arctic North.

The event is free to the public, but the store is asking for people to register in advance by calling 849-3482 or emailing mtpleasant@backpacker

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Wild Blue Ropes, a high adventure ropes and challenge course on James Island, will hold its grand opening noon- 8 p.m. Wednesday. Eventually the hours will expand to 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Wild Blue Ropes is an aerial adventure ropes course designed under the standards of the Association for Challenge Course Technology and offers four different course levels with 22 tower poles and more than 70 course elements.

David Quick covers health, fitness and outdoor activities. Contact him at 937-5516.