John Barstow accomplished a mission four years in the making on March 25.
During a pep rally and faculty/student basketball games at Fort Riley Middle School, Barstow completed his goal of performing one million pushups.
He began doing pushups daily four years ago as a challenge to take on before his 40th birthday. At his highest level, Barstow did 700 to 1,000 pushups a day, which brought him to his final 10 pushups to complete Friday in order to reach one million.
“I feel incredible,” Barstow said, “it’s been a long time coming. It’s hard to believe that it’s here.”
Barstow, who is an 8th-grade science teacher at Fort Riley Middle School, was originally going to do his one millionth pushup two weeks ago, but a snowstorm on March 10 postponed school and his plans for completing his goal. He said halftime of the faculty/student basketball games was the perfect time to complete his one millionth pushup.
Barstow has taught at Fort Riley Middle School for 15 years. Junction City High School junior Tyree Holloway said he was in Barstow’s class when he started the challenge.
“I’m proud of him,” Holloway said. “I was hype for him. I was like, ‘Oh snap, he made it to one million.’”
As part of the challenge, Barstow also raised money to benefit a charity of his choice — Camp Tomah Shinga, a Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Association of Kansas youth camp near Junction City.
He said he raised about $400 on his own but got sidetracked by other life events. Barstow’s wife, Julie, secretly raised more money without her husband knowing. She was able to surprise him with a check for $3,345.
“He’s a pretty humble guy, and wanted to do his pushups for a cause,” Julie Barstow said. “I just decided to post on Facebook … and raised quite a bit of money.”
Other members of the Barstow family came to help John complete his goal, including his children, Noah, 10, and Edyn, 8. Edyn watched her dad play in the faculty/student basketball games on the “Red” team. She said her dad could’ve done better on the basketball court.
“He needs to shoot better,” Edyn said. “He needs to try to have the ball more.”
Barstow said he’s done pushups in all weather conditions and on all terrains.
“I might’ve done a few the day it snowed (March 10), maybe a hundred or two that day,” Barstow said. “I’ve done it in a blizzard at least. I’ve done them on my roof, I’ve done them on a paddleboard.”
Barstow said half of his challenge took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he appreciates the support he’s received over the past four years.
“I think all the staff and friends who’ve asked me about it and kept encouraging me and thinking that it’s really cool,” Barstow said. “That’s been the reason it happened, or the motivation behind it.”
Holloway said Barstow is the epitome of setting and achieving personal goals.
“After four years, he stuck with it,” Holloway said. “He didn’t quit. So that’s inspiring. I remember one day he popped out like a hundred pushups in class, I was like, ‘Dang.’ He’s serious about it.”