Centerline Fitness Challenge: Centerliners take on Mt. Mitchell
Jun 7, 2016
There’s only a week left.
One week to lace up your running shoes, dust off your yoga mat, and stuff your face with spinach. One week left of the second annual Centerline Fitness Challenge.
Centerline is committed to providing all employees with fitness and healthcare services, including two fitness hours per week, free classes at HEAT and Blue Lotus, and a free, premium gym membership at O2 Fitness.
The Fitness Challenge was designed to encourage and support healthier lifestyles, and participating Centerliners set a measurable fitness goal – then spent the next eight weeks working towards kicking that goal’s ass.
Goals ranged from small lifestyle tweaks to major fitness undertakings. Centerliners pledged to improve their plank, run 10 miles per week, lose 3 inches. Some just wanted to get to the gym twice a week, others worked towards completing 50 push ups without resting. One became a “Marathon Maniac,” another wanted to run a 5k in less than 25 minutes.
One group, though, really wanted to push their limits.
Not just push their limits, really, but push themselves to the extreme.
They wanted to hike Mt. Mitchell in Burnsville, NC, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River with an elevation of 6,684 feet above sea level.
“I chose this challenge a long time ago, actually. The Fitness Challenge provided the final excuse to pull the trigger, and to invite others into my scheme to make sure I didn’t pull an Into the Wild and die alone in a broken down van after eating some berries I found,” joked Mike Delaney, an art director at Centerline.
He was joined by Zan Gantt, an editor, and Brandon Chapman, a composer.
“Since Mt. Mitchell’s peak is the tallest east of the Mississippi, it seemed like the coolest, and hardest, thing I could do. I spent about a month tracking the weather, researching the best route and finding a weekend we could all go,” explained Delaney.
“We were expecting it to rain the entire trip, so we had rain gear packed up as well, and we each carried about 3 litres of water for the hike up. We spent the night at a nearby campground, and started the day at around 6 a.m. to avoid the heat. Mt. Mitchell has a climate more similar to Canada than North Carolina, and the peak is about 20 degrees cooler on average than the surrounding area.”
The route the group took qualifies as an accepted route for the South Beyond 6000 Program by the Carolina Mountain Club, which recognizes members who climb all 40 peaks above 6000 feet in the Southern Appalachians.
“It was one of the coolest and most difficult things I have ever attempted to do,” said Gantt. “Starting out was like, ‘yeah – this is tough,’ but I never realized that we would have to take breaks because it was so strenuous. I’ve been hiking before, and feel like I’m physically fit, but with the incline, the distance and the thin air, it really pushed us to the limit.”
Or, as Chapman puts it, “Basically, time stood still, until it didn’t and we finished and I wanted to die.”
Despite the challenges, the climb was worth it.
“This one spot, about 30 minutes from the top was amazing. It was so quiet – no breeze, no birds, nothing,” said Gantt.
The crew made a video of their hike, which you can check out here, and follow #CLFitnessChallenge for more updates: