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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Gym members pitch in with surprise gift to help owner train for Olympics

A surprised SCE Fitness owner K. Jay Davis raises up a high-end road bike that gym members gave Davis as a gift to help him train for an Olympic event. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
A surprised SCE Fitness owner K. Jay Davis raises up a high-end road bike that gym members gave Davis as a gift to help him train for an Olympic event. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

SCE Fitness owner K. Jay Davis motivates members of his downtown Spokane gym by providing encouragement and support to reach their fitness goals. But Friday morning, gym members showed their support for him instead with a surprise gift.

Around 6:30 a.m., a small group snuck in through the gym’s warehouse door with a Giant Defy Advanced 1 bicycle and quietly waited, while others – also in on the surprise – continued to sweat through the pre-scheduled group fitness class upstairs.

Charging up the stairs with bike in tow, the group sprung their surprise. Davis was floored.

“Sometimes, you just don’t have words,” Davis said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this surprised in my entire life.”

That life hasn’t always been an easy one. Years ago, Davis overcame a battle with drug addiction and found salvation through church and physical fitness. He opened SCE Fitness in 2016 and is now a certified trainer in NESTA, ITCA Triathlon and Endurance Sports Nutrition as well as BioMechanics.

Davis conducts training classes for Spartan races and for those wanting to compete on “American Ninja Warrior,” but also offers six-week group challenge classes for all levels of fitness. He completed his first Ironman Triathlon in 2015, and regularly finishes in the top 10 for Spartan races. He trains for triathlons six days a week and aims to qualify for the Olympics.

“If I win this next race, I have the possibility of being in the Olympics,” he said. “But I didn’t have the right equipment that they do to be able to compete at that level.”

EWU student Seth Peterson, a road racer who trains at SCE Fitness, organized the spur-of-the-moment effort to surprise Davis with a new bicycle to help with his Olympic training.

“I created a group message on Facebook and got the ball rolling,” said Peterson. “We did this to give back the support K. Jay has given to us. We wanted to rally behind him.”

The surprise effort was real teamwork, said Joe Amado, an SCE Fitness gym member.

“We were on Facebook messenger with about 20 people and kept adding to the list of folks,” he said. “The goal was to raise $600 and we ended up raising $1,200.”

Because Peterson is employed at Spoke and Sport, the group received a discount on the bicycle, which left an additional $600 to $700 to add upgrades such as aero bars, an aero helmet and GPS.

Some people took off work to participate in the surprise effort, Peterson said.

“Getting everyone on board was the easy part,” Peterson said. “It was tough to keep it a secret. That was the hardest part.”

Davis is personable and dedicated and that’s why the gym members wanted to give back to him, said Amado.

“He built not just a gym, but a community here,” Amado said. “It’s not just exercise, but it’s emotional and spiritual renewal. People want to come here because K. Jay keeps us accountable in a very caring way.”

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