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DEKA Strong at On Your Mark Fitness

Posted by Annie Schroeder on January 25, 2023

When we started the DEKA program at the ON YOUR MARK FITNESS at JCC South Hills, many of our members were curious or even hesitant to get involved. But as our community has continued to grow, our members, staff and even people from across the east coast have traveled to Pittsburgh to try out this new endeavor and test their fitness abilities.  

On Sunday, January 22, ON YOUR MARK FITNESS hosted its second ever DEKA Strong competition and had more than 50 athletes earn their mark! We are so pleased with how our inspiration for these competitions and program have come to life. Our competitions have brought in athletes from across Pittsburgh, and as far away as Brooklyn, New York.

In the last six months you all have helped up build ON YOUR MARK FITNESS into more than just a DEKA affiliate; we have created a community. From athletes, educators, parents, kids, JCC Staff and everyone in between, we want to thank you for earning your mark with us at the South Hills JCC. Here is a snapshot of what we have accomplished together. 

-More than 70 competitors in our first DEKA Strong and DEKA Mile events in October 2022 and almost 60 competitors at our competition in January 2023. 

-23 teams entered in the DEKA Holiday Challenge, which earned us third place out of more than 200 DEKA affiliates. 

-Top 3 ON YOUR MARK FITNESS DEKA Holiday Challenge teams finished 30th, 54thand 60th overall out of 251 teams nationwide. 

-18 participants in the ON YOUR MARK FITNESS December Cardio Challenge. 

Here’s what some of our participants are saying about their experience at ON YOUR MARK FITNESS: 

“We tried DEKA FIT last year and some of our friends try the competitions to see who gets on top, and we’ve got one in August again so we’re just pretraining through the obstacles to better ourselves in our weaknesses.” Franklin Rojas of Brooklyn, NY said.  

Parent Heather Trettel was one of our first-time competitors Sunday, and also brought along her two sons to try out the competition as a family. “We have done Spartan races together, other fun runs, my one son loves doing 5k’s and we all love finding something new to do in fitness, so we didn’t train for this we just got a call from a friend and came out and tried it.” Trettel said.  

Trettel says DEKA was a perfect way for her and her boys to test their fitness levels and have fun. “Everything is scary until you try it, it’s a great experience for adults but even for families who want to try it together” she said. 

Mike Staley took the top spot on the podium Saturday and completed the DEKA Strong competition in 12:22. Staley travels more than 3 hours to compete in our DEKA competitions. “The community, the atmosphere, the events, the training that goes into it all, there’s a lot of group-based trainings, everyone struggles through the same adversities and pushes through and it’s just really motivating,” Staley said.

Staley says the key to being successful in the DEKA arena is practice, getting out of your comfort zone, and being surrounded by those who support you. 

“When you come in as an individual to compete you push yourself through the same adversities you’ve been through and coming to a facility like this where the community is so positive and they all come together it just makes it a really good impactful feeling,” Staley said.  

ON YOUR MARK FITNESS will be taking part in a DEKA Challenge during the month of March and will host another DEKA competition in April. Stay up to date on all things DEKA here: jccpgh.org/deka 

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