During Cancer Fundraiser, There’s No Rest for the Workout-Weary

  • Personal trainer Jon Dame, of Lebanon, does a barre routine with Sydney Stowe, of Hanover, right, and Lisa Hayes, of Lyme, as part of "Crush Cancer and Your Trainer" a fundraiser for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Alumni Gym in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. Trainers aroud the Upper Valley participated in the event at their own gyms with worksouts assigned by their clients for donations of $5 per minute. "I wanted him to do something that he wasn't going to have to do with anyone else," said Stowe, who learned the routine in a yoga class. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Darrin Clement, of Thetford, does a set of 15 burpee snatches with two 40 pound weights, an exercise assigned by a client during a fundraiser for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Alumni Gym in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mikayla Kravetz Hernandez, of Hanover, takes video of her wife, fitness instructor Theresa Hernandez, as she goes through a workout as part of the Crush Cancer and Your Trainer fundraiser at Alumni Gym in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. Trainers completed assigned workout tasks from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with boot camp workouts for participants before and after. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Trainer Darrin Clement, of Thetford, strikes a pose while disco dancing between intervals of exercises assigned by, from left, Kim Randall, Jen Friend, Jack Kauders, and Tammy Heesakker to raise money for Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Alumni Gym in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. Clement runs his own gym in Thetford, but due to the tight space, came with a group of his clients to take part in the event in Hanover. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Personal trainers Jon Dame, right, Darrin Clement take a break from workouts assigned by donors to the Crush Cancer and Your Trainer event as Kim Randall, of Thetford, looks on at left, at Alumni Gym in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. "As much as we hate this, I love it," said Dame. "I love hearing what (workouts) they come up with." (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/20/2019 10:54:25 PM

Hanover — Jon Dame let out a sigh as he got on his hands and knees to crab walk backward across Dartmouth College’s Zimmerman Fitness Center, stopping on either end of the facility to do a variety of workouts. Before that, he had completed a series of barre exercises. Later, he would do workout circuits while wearing shiny red socks, which Dame referred to as “ruby slippers.”

The sweat was expected; exactly what he would be put through was very much a surprise. Then again, getting put through the ringer for a good cause was all part of the fun.

Dame and a number of personal trainers from at least nine fitness centers across the Upper Valley participated in Saturday’s annual Crush Cancer and Your Trainer fundraiser, in which clients bought time — at $5 a minute — to put their trainers through a workout of their choosing. The event, started by Wayne Burwell, owner of Wayne’s World Elite Fitness Training in Lebanon, raised close to its goal of $20,000 for Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

“We used to do it when I worked at (River Valley Club); we used to do it for Parkinson’s and the Children’s Hospital (at Dartmouth),” Burwell said on Thursday. “You’ve got to fight for the people who are putting up the fight every day. … I’m not saying I’m untouchable, but I will go until I drop because that’s what they do.”

For both Dame and Burwell, the cause is a personal one. Dame’s wife, Jen, is a breast cancer survivor; Burwell lost two close friends to the disease. In previous years, the fundraiser has taken place at Burwell’s fitness center on Mechanic Street. This year, individual gyms — including the River Valley Club, KDR Fitness and the Carter Ccommunity Building Association — hosted their own events.

The least trainers can do, Dame said, is give their clients a chance for some revenge.

“Wayne came to me to do this, and I thought, ‘Sure, why not?’ ” Dame said. “I saw the response from my clients. About the same time every year, my clients will be like, ‘Hey, when’s Train Your Trainer?’ I’m like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to start being really nice to you from here on out.’

“They love it, they get a kick out of it and they kind of push me into it every year. It’s a lot of fun.”

Several clients followed five trainers who were participating in the fundraiser on Saturday at Dartmouth’s Alumni Gym, filming as they went through workouts assigned by people who donated online, giving out instructions on what to do next. Some went for difficulty, researching the most challenging workouts to see them done in person. Others went for humiliation, looking to catch a seemingly uncomfortable variation of a burpee on film.

All of it came with laughs and smiles.

“It’s so much fun,” said Kim Randall, of Thetford, who followed her trainer, Dartmouth’s Darrin Clement, throughout the day. “He’s such an animal. When he’s on the other side, he pushes you until exhaustion.”

Tammy Heesakker, a Norwich resident who also trains with Clement, built her list of workouts from personal experience. She also added a round of donkey-kick burpees — which involving kicking your legs into the air — just for fun.

“I started my list with all things I know we hate the most,” Heesakker said. “After that, I was looking online, finding variations of burpees. There are lots of different ways to do burpees. I found the funniest one.”

Norwich residents Skye Cudney, a junior at the University of Vermont, and Elin Hedlund, a Dartmouth graduate, were looking to exact some revenge on Dame.

“Elin likes to make him do really hard stuff,” Cudney said the trainer. “I try to be the voice of reason. … I know he has a lot to do.”

Added Hedlund: “That’s because he’s given me workouts to do. … He kills me all the time. This is like payback.”

Cudney and Hedlund followed along as Dame went through their routine, which involved crab walks across the facility, step-ups with a weighted bar on his back and hanging on to ice picks from a pull-up bar.

“It’s a lot of fun, honestly,” Hedlund said. “Jon’s workouts tend to be pretty hard, pretty challenging. It’s a lot of strength training and cardio combined into the same workout. By the end of it, you’re just exhausted.

“It’s kind of fun, once a year, making him go through the same thing.”

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.




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