Locals do push-ups for charity

When push came to shove, these athletes gave it up for charity.

The second annual Push for Entrepreneurship took place Saturday morning at the Barone Campus Center at Fairfield University. Two dozen local men and women — mostly business people and one state legislator — hit the mats for a two-hour pushup marathon aimed at raising money for the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

“For me personally it’s an intersection between my love for fitness and my strong belief in entrepreneurship being the future for this country,” said Michael Carter, a Weston resident who created the event and serves on the board of the NTE.

The simple idea, which was inspired by Carter’s personal trainer Andy Berman, was to see how many pushups people can do over a two-hour period, being allowed to take breaks as often as needed and not officially monitored for the quality of their execution. The group goal was to do 25,000 pushups and close to $20,000 was raised with the event.

“I enjoy working out and I like competitions,” said Charles Martin of Orange, who trained by doing 900 pushups in 45-minute blocks. “I didn’t have time to do two-hour blocks training,” he said.

“Entrepreneurship is so important,” said State Rep. Fred Wilms, 142nd District of Norwalk and New Canaan, also a friend and colleague of Carter. “I think it teaches wonderful life skills, so I’m happy to help the cause.”

“It’s a personal challenge,” said Daniel Vasconez of Fairfield. “It feels good personally and at the same time it’s trying to help other people.”

Several women also took part in the event, including Kim Rizy of Westport. “We’ve pushed out children and gone through labor for hours,” she said. “We can certainly do pushups for two hours.”

“It’s a no-brainer,” echoed her friend Christina Stuttard of Westport, who said pushups are actually her favorite exercise. “It doesn’t phase me.”

“I do a lot of pushups already,” said Scott Sidell of Westport, who generally hits 600 during a 45-minute period, and has even done 1,500 within an hour. “I’m trying to do 3,000 today, so we’ll see how that works out.”

Carter said people don’t realize what they’re capable of doing. He even surprised himself last year by doing 2,511 in a two-hour period.

“Self-imposed limits are just that,” he said. “We all have our preconceived notion of what we can do and the people here are going to far succeed that.”