Saturday, May 23rd marked the inaugural Memorial Challenge, a community workout circuit on Dartmouth’s Memorial football field in memory of Blaine Steinberg ’15 and Torin Tucker ’15. Steinberg was a passionate athlete who was on the Dartmouth women’s lacrosse team before concussions halted her career, and Tucker was a standout on Dartmouth’s Nordic skiing team. Both Steinberg and Tucker passed away suddenly in the winter of 2014 -- Tucker from a rare undiagnosed heart anomaly during a 50-kilometer skiing race, and Steinberg from an undiagnosed autoimmune disease that attacked her heart following a workout. Both were remembered for their shared passion for embracing challenges as an opportunity to grow and inspire others in the way they wholeheartedly pursued their individual passions. Immediately following these tragedies last winter, Dartmouth witnessed an outpouring of community support, and Saturday May 23rd was no different in the way Dartmouth came together as a community.
458 participants and more than 80 volunteers filled Memorial Field, rotating around the field and track doing burpees, box jumps, pushups, and more. After the thirty-minute circuit workout, everyone enjoyed a BBQ together in the stands and reflected on the day. “It was probably the most fun I have ever had working out, and what makes it better was that it was for such a good cause,” wrote one Dartmouth ’17 to her sorority sisters following the event.
Both Scott Tucker, Torin’s father, and Sid Steinberg, Blaine’s father, spoke to the 500 in attendance prior to the workout, sharing both stories of Blaine and Torin as well as what the Dartmouth community and this event has meant to their families. The Memorial Challenge served to embody the Dartmouth family, which has been a rock to both the Steinbergs and Tuckers since Blaine and Torin’s passing.
“People are the most important asset [Dartmouth] has,” said Adam Fishman ’15, one of the founders of the event. The vision for the Memorial Challenge was to bring our people together. “When Blaine and Torin passed away last winter, there was such a strong sense of community around Dartmouth. But in the midst of finals last winter, we were forced to keep moving onward. [Janine Leger ’15, Adam Frank ’15, and I] were inspired to create an event that would bring together the Dartmouth community once again, and we anticipated the 2014-2015 year to end with the Dartmouth community having a shared experience through the Memorial Challenge.” And it proved to be that shared experience. “I couldn’t have been prouder to be a part of today,” wrote Sam Schiff ’15, one of Steinberg’s teammates.
The event was designed to attract as many members of the greater Dartmouth community as possible, offering a circuit that everyone did together. The participants, or Challengers as they were referred to, went through 18 different stations, performing each exercise for 45 seconds and then resting 45 seconds in between stations. The sea of Challengers included not only Dartmouth students, but also some older community members and even Team Girl Power, a group of middle-school athletes enjoying the day. During registration, Challengers selected one of four levels, which reflected different repetition goals for the exercises in the circuit that Challengers would work to reach during the workout. One’s level then reflected both one’s fitness level and will to test the limits of his/her comfort zone.
Following the passing of Blaine and Torin, Dartmouth Athletics developed a strong relationship with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Heart and Vascular Center (HVC), which is committed to paving the road in the extremely under-researched field of sudden cardiac arrest among athletes. The HVC began to screen all of Dartmouth’s student-athletes, and plans to work cooperatively with the other schools in the Ivy League to create an EKG registry to better understand EKG norms and abnormalities within U.S. athletes. There is currently no clinical EKG registry in the United States, and the Memorial Challenge proudly donated over $36,000 to the center and the great work they are doing and will continue to do. In addition to bringing together the Dartmouth community, the Memorial Challenge served to support the HVC's mission in three key areas: clinical research, EKG research, and clinical services.
While there was no “winner” to the workout, there were three awards given by the Memorial Challenge committee: Team Fundraising Award, Individual Fundraising Award, and Team Challenge Award. The Dartmouth Women’s Lacrosse team won the Memorial Challenge’s inaugural Team Fundraising Award, raising over $4,500 and receiving a tour of ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus. Jess Frieder ’15 won the Individual Fundraising Award, raising almost $3,000 and receiving two tickets to a New York Rangers home hockey game at Madison Square Garden next season. The Team Challenge Award was awarded to the team with the most team members registered for the Black Diamond Challenge level. The Black Diamond, just like in skiing, is the most difficult level of the Memorial Challenge. The Dartmouth Ski Team won the 2015 Team Challenge Award, receiving an apparel pack from Prove People Wrong (PPW).
The $36,000 raised for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Heart and Vascular Center is a reflection of the many people who contributed to the Memorial Challenge’s success, as 1,098 people contributed to the campaign. In the event’s first year, many pockets of Dartmouth and the Upper Valley served to make this event possible. The Memorial Challenge committee would like to extend a HUGE thank you to:
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Heart & Vascular Center
Dartmouth Peak Performance
Dartmouth Special Program and Events Committee
Dartmouth 2015 Class Council
Wayne’s World Elite Fitness Training
Everything But Anchovies
Dartmouth Athletics’ Grounds Crew
Concept 2 Rowing
Hanover Lion’s Club
Russell Wolff ‘89
Prove People Wrong
Dartmouth Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Delta Epsilon, Chi Heorot, Theta Delta Chi, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Phi, and Psi Upsilon
The Memorial Challenge would not have been possible without the work and commitment of the students who planned this event and felt so inspired by Blaine, Torin, and the Dartmouth community to bring us all together for the energy-filled day that was the Memorial Challenge: Adam Fishman ’15, Janine Leger ’15, Adam Frank ’15, Mary O’Connell ’16, Jessica Frieder ’15, Lizzy Blackburn ’15, Francesca Gundrum ’17, Stuart Maeder ’15, Matt MacDowell ’15, Jake Becker ’15, Carrie Wolf ’15, Kristen Hinckley ’17, Jesse Huessner ’15, and Rick Pinkston ’15.
With the inaugural Memorial Challenge in the books, the Memorial Challenge committee is looking forward to the 2016 Memorial Challenge and working with Dartmouth’s great resources to put together a fantastic event next year. Please contact email@example.com if interested in getting involved on the planning committee and with inquiries regarding partnership opportunities. To learn more about this year’s Memorial Challenge, visit www.TheMemorialChallenge.com