As a contestant on last season’s “The Biggest Loser” on NBC, Wright, a 40-year-old Atlanta resident, realized that “everything is not a race.”
She will apply that mindset to her latest self-inflicted dare, the Fight for Air Climb sponsored by the American Lung Association.
On Saturday, Wright, along with more than 200 other participants, will climb the stairs of the Equitable Building on Peachtree Street, pushing herself to at least finish the smaller trial — 32 stories — but trying to conquer the most strenuous challenge, a whopping 64 stories.
Wright lost 109 of her 330 pounds by the show’s finale and has maintained a rigorous exercise regimen of regular gym visits, hitting the stairs in her office building at Prommis Solutions and hiking Stone Mountain every weekend, at least twice in a row, sometimes three times.
But, she said, “I’m going to be totally honest with you. I’m not prepared [for Saturday], but I’m going to do it anyway.”
Shortly after the “Biggest Loser” finale aired in December, Wright, who is also a professional songwriter, discovered she had a tumor in her uterus. She had it removed in January, which left her with two months of recuperation time.
“I’m really now just getting my groove back about working out, trying to get readjusted to exercise,” she said. “I’ve got a lot of people from work who will do those stairs with me. They’re very difficult. It doesn’t matter how good of shape you’re in — it’s a hard task to climb stairs. But I’m always up for those types of challenges.”
Given the range of fitness levels, participants will be separated in 15-second increments, and slower ones will be urged to stay on the left side of the staircase.
“We do have elite athletes and a lot of firefighters participate and do it with their 40 pounds of gear on,” said Alana Whitaker, development manager at the Atlanta office of the American Lung Association. “We get a good number of people who are climbing in honor of a loved one who might have asthma or passed away from lung cancer.”
Indeed, along with her overall commitment to exercise, Wright is also partaking in memory of her father, who passed away from lung cancer in 2004.
“He would be very proud of me,” she said.
But even if Saturday’s vertical test presents Wright with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, she’s confident her mental strength will help her prevail.
“I never hold the banisters when I climb the stairs at work, but I have a funny feeling I’ll have to hold on to them [Saturday],” Wright said with a laugh. “I’ll be the first one to tell you, I’m not going to blaze up those stairs, but I’ll finish them. That I can tell you.”
Fight for Air Climb
This is the sixth year of the event, a fundraiser for the American Lung Association, and hopeful climbers can still register online (www.climbatlanta.org) through Thursday and on site Saturday. Registration is $25-$30, and all climbers also must turn in a fundraising minimum of $100.
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