Push-up competition aims to help more than physique

Take inspiration for decking out your bike for the Glow Ride from this thermal image.

The best single exercise has been the subject of debate for years, but the humble, old-school push-up often ranks among the best. It taxes the core, upper body and, for those who are strong enough, the push-up can be a cardiovascular challenge.

In 2007, three local personal trainers — Ken Brown, Lee Lazarus and Meredith Nelson of Primetime Fitness — held a push-up contest among themselves (Nelson won) and raised about $7,000 for the local Boys & Girls Clubs. Since then, the grassroots challenge has grown slowly. Last year, the event featured 11 teams.

And while the Boys & Girls Clubs closed in Charleston, the event has new organizers who are energized to make it bigger and to benefit another worthy cause: curbing South Carolina’s high school dropout rate.

Mindelle and Loren Ziff have taken the event under their wing, recruited sponsors (MUSC Health and Piggly Wiggly) and renamed the event Push-Up & Up Charleston, with a goal to raise $100,000 for the Communities in Schools program.

“It’s such an incredible and unique event,” said Loren Ziff, noting they wanted to incorporate fitness into an event targeting a serious problem in South Carolina.

And while less than a third of the goal had been raised as of last week, their hard work appears to be paying off.

Thirty six-person teams in three categories — school, open and competitive — already have signed up for the event Saturday morning in Marion Square.

The school competition starts at 9:20 a.m. and lasts 20 minutes. The open and competitive contest starts at 10:30 a.m. and lasts 30 minutes.

Late registration for teams will be 20 minutes before the start of each contest. While registration is $25 per person or $150 per team, participants are challenged to raise at least $1,000 or $1 per push-up.

The Ziffs hope people won’t be intimidated about the challenge. After all, team members take turns doing push-ups.


Another fun, albeit less physically challenging, event benefitting children will be Darkness to Light’s first Glow Ride at 8:30 p.m. Friday starting at the fountain in Marion Square.

The ride, which is part D2L’s effort to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month, will be 9-9:30 p.m. with an after-party at Leaf Cafe + Bar, 15 Beaufain St.

Participants are urged to deck out their bikes with lights. Glow sticks will be available for purchase.


Kicking off Saturday’s festivities at the annual Colleton County Rice Festival is one of the most competitive small 5Ks in the Lowcountry, the Rice Run and Walk at 8 a.m. Saturday in Walterboro.

Generous prize money draws fast runners from the area who often post times comparable to the much larger Turkey Day Run. Registration is $25. For more on the Rice Festival, see Pages 18-19.


Remember the New Year’s Resolution Run? It has morphed into a new event, the inaugural Walk for Rides, at 10 a.m. Saturday in Hampton Park. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and is a minimum donation of $10.

Money benefits ITNCharlestonTrident, which provides safe, affordable transportation to the visually impaired and senior communities.