Real Men Heft 50-lb. Duffel Bags

BY  |  Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 4:00pm  |  COMMENTS (6)

Steven Crooks of Bloomfield celebrated his 50th birthday in 2008 by getting certified as a personal trainer and, just to sort of prove something to himself, he decided to go down to Brookdale Park with a 50-lb. duffel bag and see if he could carry if 50 yards, 50 times. “Like the kind of stuff Jack LaLanne would do every year,” says Crooks (second from left in the photo). “Only, you know, realistically do-able by a normal human being like me.” After giving it  a little test run, he decided to bring some other he-men along for moral support. And it eventually got a name: The FELIS 50 (stands for Flexibility, Energy, Life, Inspiration and Strength).

Last year, Crooks turned it into an event to support Bloomfield’s Foley Field referendum, as well as a canned food drive for local food pantries. This year, with Foley Field shut down, he’s organized it to take place at the Brookdale Park running track. It will take place on Sunday Mar. 6 at 1 p.m., with registration beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Last night, Crooks made a pitch for the FELIS 50 at the Bloomfield Town Council meeting, and mentioned that he’s using the event to give back to pantries who helped put food on his table in a time of need. “I’m neither afraid or ashamed to say this, because I know how many people out there are still struggling in that position right now, and I thank God I’ve found a way to give back,” he said.

This year, besides carrying fifty pounds, fifty yards, fifty times, I want to find out how hard it is to convince fifty people to join me. I don’t have a big banner, but I’ve got some registration sheets here, and in the next couple of weeks I hope to get them filled up with names.

And don’t worry, except for a couple of athletes, first responders and gym-rats out there, I’m not interested in how much you can carry. Carry nothing at all. Carry a gym bag with a couple of weights. Carry your two-year old. Help a friend in a wheelchair. Carry nothing at all but your donations, some cans for the food pantries, kitty litter and cleaning supplies for the cats.

The first person to sign up was Bloomfield’s new police chief, Christopher Goul, who was sitting right behind him.

What about you? Can you heft it? To sign up or find out anything else about the challenge, contact Crooks.


  1. POSTED BY deadeye  |  February 08, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    Shouldn’t they see if they’re eligible for some sort of stimulus funding from the government?

  2. POSTED BY deadeye  |  February 08, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

    Oops, didn’t see that it was for charity. Best of luck to them.

  3. POSTED BY Spiro T. Quayle  |  February 08, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

    Reminds me of the good old days in college, working summers in camp kitchens hauling sacks of sugar and cases of cling peaches in heavy syrup.

  4. POSTED BY Hildy Fox  |  February 08, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

    Why weren’t you out there, deadeye? Is 50 lbs a tad too heavy for you?

  5. POSTED BY deadeye  |  February 08, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

    Hildy, I’ve been juggling 50lb bags of rock salt lately. Not just to melt the ice, mind you, but for the fun of it. I shoveled the track where they are holding the event, after shoveling the running path around Brookdale Park. When I finished my driveway, I just started down the sidewalk, and the next thing I knew I was in Glen Ridge.

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Sad. Let's hope that this is not its "Last Tango." One of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in town. Valentino, Garbo, Keaton must have played there.

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