ATLANTIC CITY — Christine Sava sat on an orange-cushioned couch at HQ2 Beachclub with her daughter and cousins Saturday morning and waited for the workout with Mark Wahlberg to begin.

For Sava, 50, the visit to Ocean Casino Resort was about more than meeting a celebrity.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple months ago,” said Sava, of Philadelphia. “I said we’ve got to go workout with Mark Wahlberg, no cancer is going to stop me from living my life.”

Sava got her wish as Wahlberg partnered with her for a portion of the poolside F45 track workout, one of the many events Ocean was holding as it celebrated its first year open this week.

More than 300 participants came out for the high-intensity training workout led by the Australian company’s athletic director and brand ambassador Cory George. Wahlberg became involved with F45 this spring when his investment group purchased a minority stake in the company, according to reports.

Wahlberg stealthily entered the Beachclub on Saturday as the workout was underway, and joined in at times when he wasn’t being greeted by fans asking for a photo.

“Really good turnout,” Wahlberg told George afterward.

On Friday, Wahlberg was in the city for the ribbon cutting of his family’s burger chain, Wahlburgers, which opened in the off-season at Ocean.

“It’s kind of a coincidence that we’re here on the anniversary. I got involved before they opened Ocean,” said the 48-year-old actor and former rapper. “I love Atlantic City, I love this property.”

Wahlberg showed up last June for Ocean’s grand opening and placed the ceremonial first bet at the property’s William Hill sports book.

“I’m happy to be here,” he said after Saturday’s workout.

George said that F45 hosts events like the one at Ocean regularly, and Saturday’s workout was “amazing.”

“It went smooth,” he said. “We had people that traveled over five hours from studios all over Jersey to come out and support us.”

Some of the participants were hardcore workout enthusiasts, like Kristi Piller and Aaron Lorah who are part of an F45 gym in Philadelphia, and others were just hoping to have some fun like Debbie Schwenk of Manalapan, who was in town for the Rick Springfield concert the night before.

“I just wanted to find out what it’s about and I heard Marky Mark was going to be here,” Schwenk said with a grin.

Ocean spokeswoman Diane Spiers said that the turnout for the event was great and said people are excited for the casino as it celebrates its first birthday at the former Revel property.

“I think everyone’s excited for us. It’s been a bumpy road, but now we’re really in a good frame of mind,” Spiers said. “The customers are feeling it, we’re busier, our hotel occupancy is up.”

Ocean will continue to hold celebration events throughout the week. For a full list, visit

Contact: 609-272-7251 Twitter @clairelowe