Indian Path Medical Center | News Article

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Indian Path's chaplain, Thomas Arbaugh, aces "Steps Challenge" by averaging about 45,000 steps per day!

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Thomas Arbaugh, senior chaplain at Indian Path Medical Center, is a pretty active guy, but he really pushed it to the limit for the Indian Path Party Across America Steps Challenge.

The Challenge was held during Fun Fest week, July 14-20, in conjunction with Healthy Kingsport. It involved counting your steps each day. Arbaugh was the top Indian Path team member and was fourth overall in the citywide competition – walking an amazing 300,000-plus steps for the week, an average of around 45,000 steps per day.

A FitBit wearer who runs regularly, works out at The Wellness Center and participates in a local men’s workout group called F3 – which does boot camp-style workouts four times a week – he’s accustomed to a tough workout regimen. For the Challenge, he pushed it a little further.

“Each day was a little different,” he said. “I normally get 10,000 or so steps in at work each day, but I knew that wouldn’t cut it. So in addition to my normal runs, I also tried to do stuff with my family. One day I walked the entire Tweetsie Trail while my kids rode their bicycles. Another time we all walked the Greenbelt in Kingsport after doing the parade.”

On the day of the Crazy 8s 8K Road Race in Kingsport, which was sponsored by Indian Path Medical Center, he awoke at 5 a.m. and ran seven miles before doing his F3 workout, then did yardwork all afternoon, then in the evening ran the Almost Crazy 3K Run with his young sons, then ran the 8K with his daughter!

“On the last day of the competition I had been chatting with another frontrunner, Thomas Arbaugh with two of his children.who is a physician with Wellmont, and we were encouraging each another,” Arbaugh said. “We both woke early and kept moving all day. When I got off work, I went straight to The Wellness Center and ran on the treadmill until closing and then walked my neighborhood until midnight – all the while messaging my new friend, who ended up beating me by just 14 steps!

“I will say that this whole thing got a little silly on some nights as I marched around our house and back and forth through the living room,” Thomas added, “but it was great to have my kids involved and cheering me on.”

Making things even more interesting was the fact that Arbaugh was also training for a Spartan race coming up in Asheville, N.C., and was doing 500 pushups per day. (By the way, he was able to successfully complete the Spartan race.)

Thomas started running three years ago while a chaplain resident at JCMC as part of a “self-care” program to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue. It included parking far away, taking the stairs and being careful about what he ate. The first year of doing it, he lost 45 pounds.

“As time went on, I really started to enjoy fitness and saw how it improved almost every aspect of my life,” he said. “When I found F3, I added the final piece – like-minded fellowship. And since those guys like doing crazy things on the weekends, I started joining them. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Note: For more information about the free, volunteer-led F3 workout and camaraderie program, check out