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At 80, Garry Rumbaugh showing no signs of ending crunches streak

Megan Woodward
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times

Garry Rumbaugh had just done 4,000 crunches with time to spare when he briefly paused to take a sip of water.

"Are you tired yet?" Rumbaugh asked Merritt Athletic Club trainer John Brodbeck, who was overseeing his progress.

"Nope, let's go," Brodbeck said.

Rumbaugh, who turned 80 on Monday, was positioned on a black mat with two untouched Gatorade bottles and one small water bottle at his side. He still had 2,000 crunches to do to match his goal of completing 6,000 within an hour.

A crunch exercise is done by lying face up on the floor with bent knees. Hands can be placed behind the neck, beside the neck or across the chest as the movement propels the shoulders toward the pelvis.

Rumbaugh finished 5,700 crunches by 11:20 and 200 more by 11:22 — he completed 6,179 when the one hour mark hit at 11:30.

He sat up to take another sip of water when he finished and smiled at the small group of people that had gathered to watch him. Rumbaugh, hardly out of breath, then held up his arms in a triumphant fashion as his daughter put a birthday hat on his head.

"By doing that, I've made it harder for myself the next time I do it, because I'll beat it," he said.

Rumbaugh said he went to Holiday Spa in Towson on his 40th birthday where he met a 19-year-old young man who could do 1,000 crunches in an hour — he thought it was impossible at the time. Soon enough, he started to perform crunches on his own, working up from cycles of 10 to 100 to 1,000 in order to get where he is today.

"Last year I did 500,000 and the year before that I did one million in 11 months," Rumbaugh said. "The year before that I did a million in 10 months. You get to the point where you get addicted to it and I have an addictive personality."

Rumbaugh's wife, Pat, wore a black shirt that donned her husband's previous record for the most crunches he's done in an hour on the front in white print — 5,710 on Nov. 29, 2013 — a feat he accomplished at Merritt Athletic Club as well.

Lyme disease took over much of Garry's nervous system 10 years ago and as a result, it left him with a lack of motor control and a sight deficiency. He uses a walker and has not driven a car in seven years. Pat Rumbaugh said Garry's doctors told him to keep his core strong as best he could, so they joined MAC.

Garry used to work out every day but recently started going three times a week to work out for two hours at a time to continuously build himself up. He takes water breaks between reps of 2,000 and they last for just a few seconds before he resumes.

"He's very proud of what he's done because he knows there a lot of people that are younger and not as in good of shape," Pat Rumbaugh said. "He gets on the rolling machine and other equipment that helps him and he's very proud."

When Garry isn't doing crunches, he's painting. It's a pastime he picked up two years ago, despite admitting that his hand and eye coordination are not where they used to be. He said he likes crafting images of the boats in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and of his family.

Pat said it's his way of relaxing, something he doesn't often do. But, does she ever get nervous watching her husband perform so many crunches in one sitting?

"No, no," Pat answered with a smile. "Just happy, it's great."

Garry's already got his next goal in sight, starting with 6,180. His advice to others who might want to tackle this feat — take the time to work your way up.

"You do it on a regular basis," Rumbaugh said. "Anything you do on a regular basis, you start small and make it big."

mwoodward@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-7893

twitter.com/mwoodwardCCT

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