Watkins, left, with his uncle, Sandy McNeill in 2009
By MARK GILCHRIST
The completion of all four Personal Endurance Challenges by a 15-year-old girl in the 2011 Take the Lake fitness event this Labor Day weekend was an admirable feat, but Madelyn McCullen was not – as was reported here – the youngest person in the history of the event to do so. She is the youngest female.
In 2009, the first year of Take the Lake as an official event, Alex Watkins finished the four PECs. Watkins is a student at Charlotte Christian
School and was 12 years old in 2009.
His mother, Kathy Watkins, is related to the McNeills of Lake Waccamaw, and she had completed the Labor Day Swim when she was 12 years old.
As a Boy Scout, Alex had experience in swimming and kayaking. His family cycles often, and he trained for the swim in a neighborhood pool, his mother said.
Alex found the greatest challenge with the kayak PEC, as did most of the paddlers that day in 2009. The weather was harsh, and with strong winds in their faces most of the trip, some participants could barely move forward at times along the southern shore.
Kathy offered a few tips for anyone considering attempting any (or all) of the Take the Lake PECs.
“Set your goal at the beginning of the summer and make the training fun,” she wrote. “This (Take the Lake) was truly a family event and we all had fun training. We would take family bike rides, walks, and kayaking at the Lake when we would visit his Grandmother Juanita Stanley. I also enjoyed going with him to the pool and watching him swim laps. This brought back memories of when I was 12 and my sister Deborah would take me to the McNeills at the lake and she would watch me swim from pole to pole.”
The only greater challenge Take the Lake could offer McCullen and Watkins is the X-TREME! event, where they would complete all four PECs in a single day. With the youngest successful participant in that event 32 years old, either of these teenagers has a good shot at the title of youngest Take The Lake X-tremist!
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Take a few minutes and reel through the years of Take the Lake, as we review the many themes and posters that have helped make fitness more fun in Columbus County! Click here
DID YOU KNOW...
that the second-most-popular Boy Scout merit badge in the U.S. is for Swimming? And the ninth-most-popular is Personal Fitness? Yes!
Six girls complete
all four PECs.
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