As the inaugural Ton of Fun Challenge at Fleet Feet Sports Gaithersburg came to a close with a party on March 31, there was much cause for celebration. Chris Gault, who owns Fleet Feet with his wife Robyn, said, “This was really about challenging you as a community to lose a ton of weight, and we didn’t get quite to a ton, or 2,000 pounds, but we did lose a lot.”
Gault announced that 132 participants had lost 1,015 pounds during the 12-week program. “That represented 3.95 percent of body weight,” he added. “You guys should be really proud of yourselves.”
The numbers were impressive: 83 participants lost 3.1 pounds, 64 people dropped 6.2 pounds, 28 achieved a 13.1-pound weight loss, and five participants lost more than 26 pounds. Two “biggest losers” were honored—one man and one woman. Winner Yaniv Goury lost 52 pounds or 18 percent of his body weight, and winner Cheryl Griffin lost 18 pounds or 11 percent of her body weight.
Beyond the weight loss and completion of the program, participants celebrated their camaraderie—a supportive group that included Fleet Feet owners and staff, as well as sponsors like Foundry Fitness. Eric Pellicci of Foundry Fitness was surprised with a signed and framed photo of Ton of Fun Challenge participants, thanking him for his free classes given each week of the Challenge, his expertise and support.
“There’s about eight people here who I see every week and just how they’ve changed and how they’ve progressed since the beginning, I have to say it’s been a ton of fun training you guys and I don’t want to say good-bye,” Pellicci said. “I love you guys. It brings back that passion that I remember when I first started training, watching you guys succeed and I just love it.”
Chris and Robyn Gault were presented with a similar framed and signed photo, for “helping and setting this whole program up and introducing us to all the different exercise options.”
Challenge participants felt this was a strength of the program—the opportunity to sample a variety of different classes and choose those best suited to their needs. Enliven Yoga, Foundry Fitness, CrossFit, Orangetheory Fitness and Lisa Wilcox Jazzercise all offered exercise classes, and Amy Nastick of Hungry Heartbreak and Whole Foods Market Kentlands offered healthy eating advice and support.
Brooks, another Ton of Fun Challenge sponsor, gave each participant a Ton of Fun lightweight technical running shirt. Brooks also donated five gym bags for a raffle giveaway and provided food for the March 31 party.
And for more good news, the Ton of Fun Challenge will party on.
“We are going to do this three times a year,” Chris Gault announced, “so five weeks from now we’re going to start up again” on May 10.
“We already have three repeat offenders,” Robyn Gault said, smiling. “If you guys want to keep it going, don’t hesitate to sign up.” New exercise class options are planned, as well as popular returning classes like Foundry Fitness.
In the intervening five weeks, Robyn Gault urged participants to join Fleet Feet for its free fun runs and walks every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. The Fleet Feet No Boundaries 5K training program for beginning runners just started last week, and people can still join that as well. The WalkFit program, training participants to walk a 5K, also just began and continues to accept signups.
Mayor Sidney Katz, who took the 12-week Ton of Fun journey with his wife, Sally, and shared his story with Town Courier readers, plans to do some of the Fleet Feet walks now that the Challenge is over. At the conclusion of the program, he said, “It felt great. I ended up losing 13.5 pounds with them.”
Given his very full schedule, he plans to “take a semester off” from the Challenge, but may sign up again. In the meantime he will “try my best to do what they taught me — to let someone else know what I weigh, to continue exercising and eating right.
“What I really liked the most (about the Challenge),” he said, “was I realized how much excitement was in the store itself each time you visit, and I enjoyed being a part of it.”
Lynn Oundo, who also shared her Challenge journey with Town Courier readers, has already started Fleet Feet’s No Boundaries 5K program. She recently joined Foundry Fitness and is even taking some personal training classes there, and she plans to sign up for the Ton of Fun Challenge in the spring, too.
When asked what she liked best about the Ton of Fun Challenge program, she cited the sense of community, “making friends and getting to know different people — at Foundry Fitness and at Fleet Feet.”
Oundo appreciated the “constant encouragement” that made a “huge difference.”
“I’m not in this alone,” she said.