A Warrenton teenager recently did 10,000 sit ups to stand against abortion.

Dean Yunghans, 16, accomplished the feat Saturday at Hope Christian Fellowship Church in Fauquier County because he wanted to raise money for Care Net Pregnancy Resource Centers, a Christian nonprofit with pregnancy centers in Manassas and Woodbridge.

The young man generated more than $4,000 in donations during the 10 hours and 37 minutes that he sat up and then laid back down, sat up and laid back down at a pace of about 20 sit ups per minute until he couldn’t do it anymore.

“It was tiring,” said Yunghans on Monday morning, his body still sore. “I didn’t feel it my abdomen as much – it was really my hips that were killing me. It was the first time it was actually hard to do a sit up, in my experience.”

The home-schooled student started honing the talent as an 8-year-old when he did 250 sit ups to beat his sister who had done 200. By age 10, Yunghans could do 1,000 and when he was 16, he did 6,000, constantly challenging himself to beat his own record.

On Saturday, he faltered at 8,800 sit ups.

“He hit a wall and he pushed past it for over an hour for 1,200 more sit ups,” said his father Wayne Yunghans. “The most impressive thing for me was his grit in sticking with it. It was unexpected to see Dean push himself so far past the point of exhaustion.”

It’s what you do in the military, said the Marine Corp veteran.

“You reach the end and push past it,” said Wayne Yunghans, his voice swelling with pride. “It was very stirring and moving to see one of my children do that.”

In fact, it was father who inspired son to push harder. Wayne Yunghans served in the Marines under Maj. Wayne Rollings, who set a record when he did 40,000 sit ups in 16 hours. The younger Yunghans got to meet Rollings this past summer.

“That was very encouraging,” said Dean Yunghans. “He told me to get in overall shape, to run, to do things that would get my shoulders strong so I could hold my arms up that long. It uses more of your body than you would think.”

Though the teen did not officially set a world record on Saturday, he followed Guinness protocol in accomplishing what he did, allowing himself no more than a five-minute break per hour. In total, Yunghans – over the more 10 hours – only stopped for 25 minutes, according to his father.

Two independent verifiers were on site while he did the sit ups while another two people counted and another videotaped the scene that was live streamed on Facebook. Another eight or nine good friends were there to encourage the teen when the going got tough.

“I’m glad it’s done for one thing,” Yunghans said Monday, adding, “I just hope it catches on and gets Carenet some public attention. Abortion is just so unjust.”

Becky Sheetz, CEO of Carenet Pregnancy Resource Centers, was impressed with what the young man accomplished for the organization.

“I did 100 sit-ups alongside Dean and then I took a break and then I did 101 more and it was excruciating to do 200 sit-ups with long breaks in between so we just all sat there in awe – watching this kid, thinking how is he able to do this? It’s just incredible,” she said. “He’s not your average young man to take this kind of initiative to go through that kind of sacrifice.”

Donations toward the effort were still coming in Monday morning, Sheetz said, adding that the money raised would be used to provide free ultrasound services for women struggling with unplanned pregnancies, pregnancy tests and options counseling in their pregnancy centers. Though based in Northern Virginia, Carenet services many women and families in Fauquier County, she said.

The younger Yunghans said he wants to continue to support the cause, but as he was still recovering Monday morning, he understandably declined to commit to another round of breaking his sit up record.

“Maybe this will become an annual thing. I just don’t know at this point,” he said.

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Allison Brophy Champion can be reached at abrophy@starexponent.com or (540) 825-4315.

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