Competitors for the Case Study are down to six

If you have been reading the column the last few weeks, you know about the "Case Study" essay contest that was issued three weeks back.

In doing this, I had no idea the level of response that would be achieved. After the first column about the contest was printed on Dec. 20, there were only two responses that next week. I began thinking, maybe people do not read this column and even worse, maybe people just do not care about their well being and fitness level. And then it hit me! Thirty-plus essays hit my inbox the next week and even more after that!

As I began to read each one carefully, I noticed an ongoing trend. These individuals were serious and all worthy of the membership.

After careful consideration, I had personally eliminated 19 essays from the pile and called upon the other trainers here at World Camp for their input on the situation. The group of us spent hours in deliberation over the final 11 essays. I took the top two picks from the staff, leaving me with six sheets of paper filled with insight on six different individuals' lives.

If you remember, the original plan was to invite three men and three women in for an interview with the training staff and myself to decide on the final two contestants. Well, I am in pretty tight with the boss here, so I persuaded him to change the rules a bit. Let the games begin!

I will be giving out six training memberships to these individuals for one month and then they will have to decide on who stays. All six will start out being weighed, body-fat measured and put through a performance "FIT TEST."

I have no doubt that tight relationships will develop between the trainers and these six. Therefore, the numbers will be the standard! At the end of the first month, each candidate will go through the same evaluation as they did in entering the study. The four, two males and two females, who have the most change will stay for another month. At the end of the second month -- you guessed it -- we will be left with two.

Why would I do this, you ask? Two reasons: Competition brings out the best in people, I think, and the numbers don't lie. Numbers show no emotion or empathy toward anyone. They do not care if you couldn't make a workout because your car wouldn't start or you had to pick your kid up from soccer practice. This is the only way to be fair in my humble opinion.

Would you like to meet these six individuals? In no certain order, here are the finalists for the "Case Study" essay contest!

* Curt Gleaton -- Loving husband and a proud father of two. Curt is an ex-softball player with an athletic past. Curt is concerned that if his unhealthy ways do not make a turnaround for the better, he will not be around to see his kids through college.

* Lora Widman -- Lora is facing an extensive back surgery to straighten her spine and has come to the realization that not only will the recovery be unbearable but may could've been prevented all together if she was healthier.

* Shane Williams -- Husband and father of two has a strong desire to get his health back on track. Shane has a heart stent from a wreck he was in at 20, and though he is the heaviest he's been in his life, the doctor has told him he's clear to workout -- HE JUST NEEDS TO DO IT!!

* Sharron Bryann -- Sharron is a 35-year-old mother who has been overweight for almost a decade. She knows that there is a strong person inside but just doesn't know how to unlock the door and let her out.

* Lynda Miller -- Linda is 44 years old and is at an all-time high in weight and is in the worst shape she has ever been in. She is a law enforcement officer but is stricken to desk-work because of her fitness level.

* Derrick Williams -- Forever struggling with his weight, Derrick suffers from chronic back pain and trouble breathing when he is sleeping. He feels this is the last opportunity to make a life change.

Well, there you have it, the final six! I will update you, the reader, on their progress through the next few months. There will be a special page on www.worldcampfitnesstraining.com dedicated to this project. Feel free to e-mail me your fitness related questions and as always, thanks for reading The Herald!

E-mail fitness columnist Kris Morrill, certified personal trainer and owner of World Camp Fitness in Albany, at kris@worldcampfitnesstraining.com.