Crossfit Gore Gauntlet
151km south of Dunedin is the town of Gore. Nestled in the heart of Southland, surrounded by the greenery of farms and flanked by the mighty Mataura River, Gore has a population of approximately 12,300. On Saturday September 6th, 2014, that number swelled slightly by an invasion of some burly and dedicated people from neighbouring Otago.
There has been a long standing rivalry between the two regions, sometimes friendly, sometimes not so much. Southland’s population of 94,900 v Otago’s 209,900 hardly seems fair considering Southland has a larger area, but what they lack in numbers, Southlanders make up for in guts, determination, stubbornness and ‘give it a whirl’ attitude.
On this lovely spring morning at the Gore A&P show grounds the crowd was gathering, the music was pumping and before you even entered the pavilion you could hear the clanging off weights echoing in the quiet morning air. Despite the early hour the good old Kiwi icon of a sausage sizzle was also well under way, strategically placed just outside the main entrance, the smell of food teasingly wafting in through the doors finding noses inside.
The scene inside would be somewhat confusing to the unfamiliar eye, daunting or intimidating even, but going outside one’s comfort zone is something that can be extremely exhilarating so a quick logical glance around the large pavilion would show it’s split into two sections divided by a grandstand – one for warming up and stretching (closest to the entrance in this case) and on the other the competition and WOD area (WOD = Workout Of the Day). Athletes for this regional competition have come from neighbouring Invercargill (Crossfit Wild South), Wanaka (Crossfit Wanaka), Queenstown, Remarkables (Remarkables Crossfit) and Alexandra (Crossfit Alexandra). They travel for glory, for the sport, for their team, their region but most they travel to be among others dedicated to the same lifestyle as themselves. Crossfit in general prides itself on the family
atmosphere, one of comraderie, of being one big family. This competition is no different; most know eachother and those few that don’t soon have new friends to call on.
Crossfit is a relatively new concept with old school moves. It originates from California where it was formed in the early 2000, and is known for being a sport that has workouts that incorporate many elements from other sports, thus keeping their workouts varied and interesting. Exercises can come from Olympic weightlifting, contains interval training, plyometrics (also known as ‘jump exercises’ which are to exert maximum output for a short period of time to improve speed and power), powerlifting, gymnastics and strongman. Normally an hour long, classes at the affiliated gyms (also called “boxes”) include a prescribed warm up, a skill development session followed by the high-intensity “workout of the day” (the famous or dreaded WOD), and a period of stretching, either in a group or individually. The WOD as well as the warm up, is written up on the board and consists of various movements/exercises are to be completed as many times as possible in a given time (including how many times, or reps, the exercise has to be performed). While a normal class is a way to better yourself, and generally the weights used is entirely upto the individual, in a competition situation for the RX group of athletes (the more experienced athletes) even the weight they must lift is set for them. For the ‘scaled’ athletes and the ‘first timer competition class’ the athletes decide what amount of weight they are comfortable lifting. If the first time competitors were nervous they didn’t show it before hand and displayed nothing but focus during the WOD. If you had walked in at that point and didn’t look at the board you would not have known these athletes were competing in their first competition – shouts from their entourage rang out, clanging of the bars on the ground and then applause when time was up. At Gore on this day there was a nice balance of athletes at all levels and the more experienced ones not above encouraging each other on from the sideline and distributing high fives and ‘job well done’ afterwards. “I always have so much energy straight after a WOD, not tired until much later in the day, then I crash.” said one of the competitors after her workout. It’s a community in itself but one that is by no means exclusive, I’ve always been made to feel more than welcome, feel part of their world each time and although I did do a couple of classes, I am not a Crossfit athlete. It’s a world we can all glimpse into, all can feel safe to bring our kids to, to mingle, to watch and to get inspired to lead a slightly more down to earth lifestyle, a healthy and wholesome lifestyle or you can put your bar a little higher and train for the elite competition of the Crossfit Games – but that is a whole other story.
So who won? Southland or Otago? Well, it was evenly spread actually.
RX Women: Anna Claire Thompson from Remarkable Crossfit (Otago)
RX Men: Sam Brierley from Crossfit Wildsouth (Southland)
Scaled Women: Amanda Clark from Crossfit Gore (Southland).
Scaled Men: 1st Equal, Clint Williams from Remarkables Crossfit (Otago) & Nigel Robertson from CrossFit Wildsouth.
If you’re interested in trying Crossfit, contact a ‘Box’ closest to you about their introductory classes, you won’t believe you can do it!
- Crossfit Gore – firstname.lastname@example.org www.crossfitgore.co.nz
- Crossfit Wildsouth – email@example.com www.crossfitwildsouth.com
- Crossfit Wanaka – www.crossfitwanaka.co.nz
- Remarkables Crossfit – firstname.lastname@example.org www.remarkablescrossfit.co.nz