By Cristina Kumka
Kate LaPointe did her situps smiling.
Her late husband would have been proud.
The second annual Mark LaPointe 1,000 Sit up Challenge held this past Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center in Rutland was more successful than ever before — raising over $10,000 for the Rutland County Boys and Girls Club.
In its first year, the challenge raised $6,000 for Mark LaPointe’s family after his passing.
More than 75 individuals and teams raised money online before the sit up challenge, some even doing 1 sit up for every $1 raised.
To creator Steve Lulek, a survivalist and rock climbing gym owner, the experience went beyond money and fitness — it was a spiritual experience in remembrance of LaPointe, his best friend who passed away from cancer before they could fulfill their collective dream of raising money in a creative way for Rutland.
Steve Lulek finished his 1,000 sit ups Saturday sitting next to LaPointe’s wife Kate.
Much like the ice bucket challenge, it was the gimmick of what type of people could actually do that many sit ups in four hours that drew spectators and donors in.
As of Saturday, the top individual fundraiser was Cristina Kumka (the author of this article) with $1,814 donated by over 50 people mostly through Facebook. Kumka performed one situp for every dollar raised.
The team with the most money raised was The Girls Team, led by Christine Gahagan, who raised $2,194.
The money will be donated to the Club before the end of the year and will go to support the Club’s programs, which include a new anti-drug education program.
“The plans for next year are to create a committee and make this a full-on event. Now that it has legs and has people who believe in it, we are going to bring people who professionally fundraise to the table and try and raise $100,000 next year,” Lulek said.
Author’s Note: The author of this article participated and raised funds for this event. She plans to honor all her donors in a special way. Stay tuned!