Words by Reginald Tolentino

Photos by Kris Correa

Thirty-one athletes and almost a hundred spectators crossed fitness boundaries and descended on the country’s largest CrossFit box last Sunday, March 29, 2015. They join over 200,000 athletes across the world, to complete this year’s CrossFit Games Open. The WOD 15.5 consisted of combination rowers and thrusters - gruelling workouts alone, utterly punishing when put together. Nevertheless, representatives from CrossFit Insurrecto, Mad Minute, Salcedo, Alpha Strike, Ortigas, Primal Ape and Northside Fitness battled alongside each other, to push themselves, and each other, beyond strength.

The event proper started at 3pm, with the box’s roof deck sprinkler systems cooling an oppressive midday heat. Head Coach Anton Sietereales gave opening remarks - welcoming everyone and introducing the day’s activities. Judges from all boxes took the helm at eight stations. Primal Ape’s Concept 2 rowers were put to the test as athletes pulled to the rhythm of pounding techno. The clatter of Rogue plates punctuated halting gasps and colourful language from winded participants. Cramps and muscle strain claimed more that a few - yet certified coaches were within easy reach to dispense first aid.

Snacks were provided by the host box in the form of roast chicken, pork BBQ and bananas. Water, sports drinks, and beer were cold, and on tap.

As the day wore on a golden sunset shone on very many sweat-drenched faces. Yet the intensity never waned. Box divisions vanished as everyone cheered on everyone. Witnessing people become their prime selves, for the brief instant they break their previous personal best, erased all doubt that while people were working for scores - everyone there that day, won.

Athletes went home tired and sore with 15.5 behind them, with new friend requests, stronger bonds of community, and a heightened awareness that such unifying events, should have happened sooner…and more often.