Fittest of the Fit Challenge Sparks Healthy Competition

Redlands Community College recently hosted its 10th Fittest of the Fit challenge with participants from the college and community. 

Fittest of the Fit is a friendly competition involving four-person teams that compete in four indoor athletic activities for 30 minutes each. Activities include running on the treadmill, using the elliptical machine, riding the stationary bike and rowing on the rower. The team that scores highest is dubbed “Fittest of the Fit” and earns bragging rights for an entire year. Plus, the team name is engraved on a plaque that lives in the Redland’s athletic department – proof that they performed at the highest level. 

“The concept came from an idea when the Biggest Loser show came out...why couldn’t we celebrate the Biggest Winner?” said Anna Rinehart, Redlands health instructor. 
Rinehart founded the event in 2009 and quickly earned the support of other Redlands athletic department staff. Current Athletic Director Eli Zucksworth is present to ensure participants are safe and hydrated during the activities. Redlands staff, Peggy Ward and Lana Souders, record and calculate results, no doubt an important part of the competition. 

When the event first began, it consisted of five Redlands athletic teams competing against each other. Individual team members would cheer for their team members and show support. It also encouraged pride of accomplishment and team camaraderie. Redlands faculty and staff joined the challenge the following year. The third year included community involvement with participation from corporate teams. BancFirst and the City of El Reno were eager to participate, so much so that they joined the Redlands Fitness Center to train for the event. Corporate teams have continued to participate ever since. 

Many participants have been involved with Fittest of the Fit for many years. 

Rachel Earls, finance clerk for the City of El Reno, has participated for at least four years. She enjoys the teamwork and physical exercise goals the challenge encourages.

“It was great having a rowing machine this year because it gives a great workout for the whole body,” Earls said. She added that she thinks events like this “make the public more aware of the gym at Redlands and what kind of equipment they have available.”

Natalie Monday has participated in Fittest of the Fit for three years. Monday is administrative assistant with BancFirst, a company that takes part in the event every year. She loves the competition and building a team with her coworkers. 

“I believe it brings out a healthy competition to the community. It motivates everyone to work toward something together,” Monday said. 

BancFirst Vice President and Business Development Officer Richard Steanson has been a Fittest of the Fit participant and organizer since the beginning of the competition. Steanson enjoys the camaraderie the event created not only with BancFirst employees, but also with the other businesses involved, particularly with Redlands faculty, staff and students. 

“I think it has been a great event to bring our community together and would like to see more of this type of interaction between schools, businesses and the community as a whole,” Steanson said. 

After Fittest of the Fit added faculty and staff to the event roster in 2011, Redlands President Jack Bryant rode the bike and went on to set the record, clocking 13.76 miles in 30 minutes. Kirsten Hayden from BancFirst holds the record for elliptical with 3.5 miles set in 2015. Marquis Gatewood from the Redlands’ men’s basketball team set the first rowing record, completing 9.89 miles in 30 minutes. 

BancFirst has won the corporate challenge for the past seven years. However, their streak ended this year when the City of El Reno pulled in higher scores. 

First place went to the Redlands men’s basketball team, which consisted of Ty Harris, Marquis Gatewood, Anthony Love and Elijah Herron. The City of El Reno’s team two came in second. Team members were Matt Sandridge, Roger Rinehart, Johnathan Strahorn and Jason Duff. In third place was the Redlands soccer team with Coach Beau Richmond and players Abby Craig, Joan Nakirya, and Madison Lamer.

The Redlands Community College Fitness Center is fully equipped with treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines and a rowing machine. The center also has strength training equipment and a functional fitness area to meet all fitness levels and interests. 

The fitness center is open to the public. Memberships and group fitness classes are available for those who are interested. For more information, visit or contact Anna Rinehart at (405) 422-6229.