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For Peconic Bay Medical Center, this man did a marathon of pushups

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People love to hate pushups.

And why shouldn’t they? Pushups are hard. They hurt and are difficult to execute correctly. 

But that didn’t stop Southold’s Jason Leonard from doing more than 500 of them in a 60-minute span. A contractor and a personal trainer at JABS in Cutchogue, Mr. Leonard’s “pushup-a-thon” at the gym raised about $1,600 for the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.

“It was very challenging, but it was a lot of fun,” he said after the fundraiser. “A lot of people came down and watched and even joined in to do some pushups with me.”

PBMC is sponsoring Mr. Leonard in the Nov. 1 New York City Marathon, and between his past fundraising efforts and Friday’s events, he has raised almost $3,000 for the hospital.

Mr. Leonard said about 30 people came down to JABS to watch and donate, some offering an amount per pushup and some contributing lump sums.

“The financial support was incredible,” he said. “I was amazed at how many people contributed and came down, even just for support to root me on.”

JABS owner Jill Schroeder first cooked up the idea and monitored the event. Some people, including his Mr. Leonard’s wife, jumped in to do pushups with him as motivation.

“I figured we would make him work for the donations rather than just ask our clients for it,” she said. “He was game for that.”

Mr. Leonard is no stranger to tests of endurance. An avid runner, he participates regularly in Spartan races and even completed a 50-mile ultra-marathon in Vermont this past spring. Sunday’s New York City Marathon will be his second 26.2-mile race.

This hasn’t always been the case, however. Six years ago, Mr. Leonard’s physicians told him his cholesterol level was on the high end and he should consider exercising.

“I never really considered myself to be out of shape,” he said. “My doctor said that before trying medication, the best thing was to get some physical activity.”

In addition to jogging, Mr. Leonard began attending classes at JABS. He enjoyed working out so much that he became a personal trainer there 18 months ago.

Before Friday’s event, he had been “throwing around” the idea of 1,000 pushups as a possible goal, but he was plenty satisfied with what he did accomplish. Hours after the event, he felt good, and he said he expected any soreness to take a day or so to set in.

But there is little rest on the horizon for Mr. Leonard.

“It was all for the New York City Marathon on Sunday, so that’s my celebration,” he said. “I get to enjoy that.”

Photo Caption: Jason Leonard, a personal trainer at JABS in Cutchogue, completed more than 500 pushups on Friday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)