Service Members Compete for CrossFit Games

6/18/2011 By Lance Cpl. Matheus J. Hernandez , Marine Corps Bases Japan

OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa, Japan -- As the crowd cheered on their friends and family members, the exhausted participants, soaked in sweat, breathed heavily as they struggled to force out one last repetition.

This was the scene as service members and civilians from across the Asia-Pacific region participated in the CrossFit Asia Regional competition at the CrossFit Asia gym in Okinawa City June 10-12.

The three-day competition consisted of six events requiring the athletes to compete in their respective division, twice daily. The events pitted participants' physical and mental strength against each other to find the top man, woman and team in the region.

Thirteen regional divisions throughout North and South America and four regional divisions in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia were set up to find the best athletes to compete in the CrossFit Games later this year. Competitors from around the world have participated in the annual CrossFit Games since 2007.

The majority of the athletes participating in this competition were military members from all services on Okinawa, said Darin Hardy, a participant in the competition.

Only a few participants had the strength to muscle their way through the competition, claiming top places in regionals. Daniel Hershey won first place for the men's division and Candice Howe conquered the women's division.

"There are so many incredible athletes coming from around the world, and the competition is amazing," said Adrian Chambers, a participant at the regional competition. "Being involved is fun and the physical competition is exhilarating."

The CrossFit-style workout helps service members remain physically fit, a key part of being a Marine, said Chambers.

"CrossFit's (workouts of the day) in general are always challenging. The Regional WOD in particular are intentionally designed to evaluate the most elite athletes within a given region based upon a broad spectrum of physical tests," said Josh Moore, a participant in the competition. "This year's Regional WOD tested everything from speed and power to strength and stamina, and a host of other physical aspects which defines a well-rounded athlete."

CrossFit has a way of fostering a competitive environment that is simply addictive, according to Moore.

The event was exciting because of the fierce competition brought by the other military branches and other nations, said Chambers.

"The CrossFit Asia competitors spent the last ten months enduring some of the most difficult workouts imaginable. During this short time we have individually witnessed incredible growth in overall work capacity," said Moore. "I know that another year of training with the CrossFit Asia staff will only serve to further advance our goals as competitive CrossFit athletes."