Explore a world of fitness challenges

Fitness incentives combine the thrill of swimming the English Channel with the convenience of a trip to the Recreation Center. (FSU photo)

By Sammi Gorman
Students at Fitchburg State University are completing marathon runs from New York to Boston, swimming the English Channel, and completing the Ironman triathlon – all without leaving campus.
The challenges are included in FSU’s fitness-incentive programs, which help students reach real-life fitness goals with some motivation from their imaginations.
“We started the fitness-incentive programs about three years ago,” Recreation Services Director Brad Cohrs said. “We realize everyone has different motivations for exercising. These programs are designed to help anyone that might just need an extra reason to exercise during those times.”
There are three programs available for students to attempt: a 215-mile run from New York to Boston; a 740-lap, or 21-mile, swim across the English Channel; and a triathlon of 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking, and 26.2 miles running to complete the Ironman.
What makes them doable for students is that the running, swimming and biking can all take place on campus, and all three programs can carry over from year to year with no end date.
“We didn’t want to assume how long it takes to complete,” Cohrs said.
There is also a biking challenge that allows students to chose their own destination from among cities including Montreal, Chicago, and San Francisco. This challenge, which runs from he fall through the summer, does have a deadline.
“It sounds like a lot, but we have a multiplier for those that bike consecutive weeks, Cohrs said. “We are trying to encourage regular exercise behavior.”
He said the most popular challenge is the New York-to-Boston run, and most programs have about a 75 percent completion rate.
“For each program, we have shirts that the winners get,” Cohrs said. “Most everyone is really excited to wear their shirt.”
For further information, visit the Recreation Center or call 978-665-3683.