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Islanders competing in international Cross Fit Open

Katrina Hutchinson, left, and Colleen Schurman complete dumbbell clean and jerks, one of the exercises in the open's 18.1 workout.
Katrina Hutchinson, left, and Colleen Schurman complete dumbbell clean and jerks, one of the exercises in the open's 18.1 workout. - Millicent McKay


“Go! Go! Go!” echoes in Colleen Schurman’s head.

She’s nearly finished the 20-minute CrossFit challenge and all she can do is keep going.

Her friend, Katrina Hutchinson, is facing the same thoughts as they both tackle the first installment of the 2018 CrossFit Open, the 18.1.

“You push yourself harder. You do things you didn’t think your body could do. All while the clock is running and you’re up against thousands of people worldwide,” said Hutchinson.

Schurman added, “Even though it’s a competition, every single person in the gym is cheering for you. The energy and the support never die.

“And you keep thinking, if I can do this for another five reps or another five seconds then I can keep going. You’re pushing yourself, but all of your mental thoughts are positive and encouraging.”

The CrossFit open is the first phase of the larger CrossFit Games. The open is a five-week, five-workout competition held in the winter months in gyms around the world.

Every Thursday, a new workout is released online, and athletes have until the following Monday to submit their scores. Athletes can do the sequence as many times as they want before submitting their best score.

After five weeks, the top athletes from each of the 18 regions across the globe, qualify for the second stage of the competition. From there, the best of the best head to the CrossFit games.

“For us it’s really just a friendly competition between members at the gym and doing better than we did the previous year,” said Hutchinson.

So far the pair have competed in the 18.1 and 18.2 challenges and are eagerly awaiting the 18.3 challenge announcement.

When members have those moments where they get a move they didn’t before, or reach a personal record, it really inspires others to keep going.

“It’s awesome. You see someone hit that movement or reach a new best and you’re so happy for them and you just keep cheering for them and congratulating them.”

Both Schurman and Hutchinson have participated in the open three times.

Jeff McRae started CrossFit in 2007. He’s seen the sport and the open grow in ways he never expected.

“When it all first started, it was very small. But it’s a sport for anyone of any physical ability because there are always modifications and different versions of an exercise.

“It really brings everyone together especially for these five weeks in the middle of the winter.”

In 2011, he opened his own box (name for CrossFit gym) and began participating in the open.

“There’s a lot of challenge to it, physically and mentally. There’s also a lot of strategy, that’s why you sometimes see athletes doing the workout two, three, four times. They’ll do it one way, the first time and then go to do it a second way and completely change the game plan.”

It comes down to efficiency, he concluded.

“That’s what CrossFit is all about.”

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