62,545 push-ups, $36K to prevent drop-outs

Laneisha Failey, 17, the only girl on the Military Magnet High School team, does push-ups while Meghan Hansen counts them during Saturday’s Push-Up & Up Charleston Challenge.

More than 220 people on 37 six-person teams cranked out 62,545 push-ups on Saturday morning in the Push-Up & Up Charleston Challenge.

But the number that organizers and participants took the most pride in was how much they had raised for the Communities in Schools program, aimed at preventing high school drop-outs: $36,000 and counting.

“We hope to raise a little more for all the push-ups people did,” said Loren Ziff, a co-director of the event.

Push-Up & Up featured a 20-minute school competition and 30-minute open and competitive contests on the east side of Marion Square.

The event has grown from a challenge between three personal trainers in 2007 to raise $10,000 for the Trident Boys & Girls Club, which disbanded last year. The challenge is the brainchild of trainer Ken Brown, who attended Saturday’s event and was all smiles.

“It’s great to see it evolve to this point,” said Brown. “I’m thinking, ‘Let’s go even bigger and better next year.’ I’m excited about the potential to raise money for a good cause — keeping kids in school.”

But there was some great competition and team pride on Saturday, too.

As many teams tired, one of two teams from the Military Magnet High School turned up the heat, cranking out a total of 1,575 push-ups — taking turns of doing five at a time per person — in the allotted time.

In the end, though, they fell short of winning to a team made up of football players from Porter-Gaud, who completed 1,725.

Independent counters from Communities in Schools kept count of push-ups using hand-held clickers. In all, the 16 school teams had a total of 17,925 push-ups.

Adult teams, including many from local fitness and CrossFit gyms, did even better.

East Shore Athletic Club facilities in West Ashley and on Dorchester Road took first and second places, respectively, in the open division (in which push-ups could be modified) with 3,468 and 2,872 push-ups.

But a team from SCE&G, not a gym, won the competitive division with a final tally of 2,999. Primetime Fitness came in second with 2,730.

As for the most money raised per team, the adult team winner was Astra Zeneca with $2,000, and the school winner was Stall High School with $615.