The Eagle Challenge: Bethlehem Celebrates Wellness and Community Support

by Anson Chamberlain

Since last summer, the Eagle Challenge has been in the works. This past weekend, it finally became a reality, bringing together the Bethlehem community for the purpose of movement, wellness, and unity. The challenge—running from Friday to Sunday night—followed a 4x4x48 schedule; participants were encouraged to walk or run up to 4 miles every 4 hours for the 48 hour challenge.

Friday night was all smiles with a solid turnout and performances by Bethlehem High School talent.

While students, parents, and community members completed the first leg of the challenge, they were serenaded by members of the Bethlehem music program. The group featured Oliver Reichman, Ellie Pokabla, Sofia Corts, Brendan Creaser, Kevin Bagley, Orin Carlson-Lee, Maggie Walters, and Henry Reichman.

Sophomore Ellie Pokabla kicked off the night with a series of ABBA classics, followed by senior Kevin Bagley, who performed a passionate rendition of Pennies From Heaven, his favorite song to perform. At 8:30, junior Sofia Corts graced the crowd with her set, including Valerie, Stand By Me, and her own original song, Temporarily. Senior Maggie Walters closed the night with a soulful Someone Like You.

Midday Saturday, vehicles from the local fire and police departments rolled into the High  School parking lot for the “Touch a Truck” event hosted by the BC student senate. Kids of all ages got the chance to check out a variety of emergency vehicles and meet their drivers, while also learning about safety and ways to help out around the community.

“We all look for ways to make our community better and show our support. At the Eagle Challenge, students can not only have a good time with their friends and peers but contribute to charities like the Ronald McDonald House, Equinox and South End Children’s Cafe,” says BC student senate president Elizabeth Baldwin (shown on the left, below). At the culmination of the challenge, the goal of raising $15,000 for the Ronald McDonald House and local charities had been far surpassed, and the student senate plans to build on that donation in the following years.

Despite the rain Sunday morning, some brave community members and runners from the boys cross country/track and field teams took to the track for the morning leg. All those who participated in the challenge can attest to the fact that the Eagle Challenge brought people together and emphasized community values of connection, teamwork, and compassion.

John Walston (second from right, above), founder of Keep On Movement, a not-for-profit organization focused on fundraising for mental health and spreading positivity, dedicated himself to all 12 legs of the challenge. For the past months, Mr. Walston has worked with the student senate to create an event that is not only beneficial to the foundations it supports,
Ansen12.jpgbut to the supporters themselves. “Exercise really saved my life,” says Walston. Through the introduction of the Eagle Challenge, Walston hopes to give the community an opportunity to join together and truly compound on the power of exercise and a  positive mindset.

After a successful first run, the creators of the Eagle Challenge plan to make the event an annual tradition and expand on its impact. Principal Dave Doemel, who, along with BC assistant principals and teachers, took part in the challenge, stated that in future years, steps will be taken to further involve the community. Plans are in place to incorporate the local Farmer’s Market, allow members to participate virtually, and open the event up to the HMRRC and other clubs.


For more information on the Eagle Challenge or Keep On Movement, please visit and


Ansen is a junior at Bethlehem Central High School and the youngest contributor to The Pace Setter. He is an ardent runner and writer.   We look forward to following his development as he continues on to college and his running develops.

Click on his picture to follow what he has written for The Pace Setter.

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