Push-ups, paddles and runs fill weekend

Even if you take turns doing push-ups with five other people on a team, doing push-ups for 20 to 30 minutes can wipe out most people, as evidenced at the annual Push-Up & Up contest.

The humble push-up — one of the old-school tests of strength, endurance and perseverance — takes center stage Saturday morning with the fourth annual Push-Up & Up Challenge at Marion Square.

The event, which is a fundraiser for Communities in Schools of the Charleston Area, pits six-person teams against each other in three separate divisions: schools, competitive and open.

School teams will do pushups for 20 minutes, starting at 9:20 a.m. Saturday. The competitive and open teams will battle it out for 30 minutes, starting at 10:30 a.m.

There is no fee for school teams, but fundraising is encouraged. Competitive and open teams are $150 each, or $25 for each team member, and are encouraged to raise at least $1,000 each for Communities in Schools and its dropout prevention programs.

Last year’s event drew 53 teams, which completed 112,130 push-ups and raised nearly $55,000. Besides the competition and the money raised, the event also offers other lessons to both students and corporate participants.

“This event provides us the opportunity to teach students the importance of setting goals and training to achieve those goals,” says the nonprofit’s Executive Director Jane Riley-Gambrell. “Together, with Push-Up & Up, we are able to cheer each other on as our students achieve the goals that they worked so hard to accomplish.”

Mindelle Ziff, co-chairwoman of Push-Up & Up, says push-ups are not only great for fitness, but “a great equalizer” for corporate team-building.

“It doesn’t matter what your role may be at the office,” says Ziff. “A push-up presents the same challenge for everyone. When you train together and cheer for each other in support of a good cause, that builds a unity, which translates well into workplace dynamics.”

Susan Johnson, director of Health Promotion at the Medical University of South Carolina, liked the contest so much that the MUSC joined in the effort as a presenting sponsor and is using it as part of its wellness program.

“MUSC is dedicated to promoting health and wellness in our community and supporting this event is a great way for us to ‘lead by example.’ MUSC’s participation in this event is about more than the dollars donated and raised. It is also about making health a priority: in our own lives, in the lives of our families and in our communities through collaboration and community engagement.”


Many don’t realize that oldest continuous running event in Charleston isn’t the Cooper River Bridge Run or the Turkey Day Run but the Hell Hole Swamp Festival’s Gator Run in Jamestown. It celebrates its 39th year at 8:15 a.m. Saturday. The fee is $35.

Granted, the race is small, historically between 40 and 100 people, but it has some traditions that give it a special quality: a shotgun (literally) start, a 10K on paved and gravel roads through the Francis Marion National Forest, a poem written by Race Director Mike Lake (aka the “Hell Hole Poet Laureate”) summarizing the race, and trophies made out of gator heads for top runners.

Winners also get to ride in the back of a pickup truck during the Hell Hole Swamp Festival parade later in the morning. “Heck” yeah!


Runners in Jamestown won’t be the only ones racing through the Francis Marion on Saturday.

The third annual Wambaw Swamp Stomp 50-50 Trail Run and Relay, features 50-mile and 50K (about 31 miles) trail races and relays, starting at 7:30 a.m. Saturday in Cordesville. The fee ranges from $45 to $105 depending on which race or relay you run.

Online registration has closed, but in-person, late registration is available at packet pick-up, 4-8 p.m. Friday at TrySports in Mount Pleasant.


Rounding out the events in the Francis Marion on Saturday is Paddle for Preservation, a fundraiser by Nature Adventure Outfitters for the East Cooper Land Trust, in the Wambaw Creek Wilderness area.

The kayak and canoe paddle, guided by experienced naturalists, will be held 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The cost is $50 for adults and $40 for children ages 4-12. Prices include lunch from Sewee Outpost.

Participants need to make reservations with the Land Trust by contacting Alison Geer at 224-1849 or alison@eastcooperland.org and will need to meet at The Palmetto Store, 10086 U.S. Highway 17 in McClellanville.


The fourth annual Hibben United Methodist Church 5K Family Fun Run and Walk will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday at Palmetto Islands County Park in Mount Pleasant.

The fee is $25 and proceeds benefit the Mallard-Sweatt Scholarship Fund. Online registration has closed, but late, in-person registration will be available at the church, located at 690 Coleman Blvd. in Mount Pleasant, noon to 8 p.m. today and 9:30 a.m. to noon Friday. Also, registration will be 7-7:30 a.m. Saturday at the park.

East Cooper Meals on Wheels will hold its third annual Serve ’em Up tennis event at 2 p.m. Sunday at Wild Dunes Tennis Center on the Isle of Palms. All levels of play are welcome. The cost is $50.

Register with Beth Roth at 566-3402 or bdroth61@gmail.com


The first of five 5K races in the annual Race the Landing series kicks off May 7.

The Thursday evening running series includes a kids fun run starting at 6:15 p.m. and a 5K at 7 p.m. The cost is $10-$12 for the kids run, $30-$35 for the 5K, and $105 for the five-run series, and includes a post-race dinner, drinks, music and more.

The dates for the other races are May 14, June 4 and June 11, and July 9.