Bloomington-Normal gym commemorates 9-11 with stair challenge

Taylor Wiscons continues her climb of 110 floors in remembrance of 9-11.
Taylor Wiscons continues her climb of 110 floors in remembrance of 9-11.(WEEK)
Published: Sep. 11, 2022 at 5:06 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Crunch Fitness in Normal is honoring the first responders who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks by challenging gym-goers to climb as many steps as they can.

The goal is to climb the 110 flights of stairs that first responders did in efforts to save as many people as possible during those fateful attacks 21 years ago. Some participants climbed the full set of stairs for each tower, totaling 220 flights and over 4,500 steps.

For Crunch Group Fitness Instructor Taylor Wiscons, it’s a chance to meditate on what that experience was like for first responders, as well as reflect on the sacrifice they make outside of 9-11.

“It’s just such a service that they provide for us,” Wiscons said from the stair climber. She was almost done with her first “tower.” She also wore a 15 pound vest to recreate the weight of carrying firefighting equipment.

“Every step, as much as it sucks you’re remembering people did this for people they didn’t know,” she continued.

This is the second year Crunch put on the challenge. Gym-goers could come in throughout the day to make their steps.

For Pontiac firefighter Adam Wherry, this was a chance to reflect on the fellow firefighters he’s lost during his career. This challenge is a way to keep their memory alive while also training himself to be ready for anything.

“I think about that the entire time,” Wherry said of the New York firefighters ascent up the towers. “Then the brothers that I’ve lost throughout my career thus far.”

Wherry was 21 at the time of the attacks. He was working in healthcare at the time and transitioned into firefighting after seeing first responders while working in the emergency room. He completed the two tower climb of 220 flights in a little under an hour. He’s completed the challenge every year since 2014.

“It keeps it fresh in my memory that I need to stay as physically fit as possible in case I come across something like that in my career,” he said.