By MIKE SMITH
On Nov. 9, scores of athletes flocked to Larchmont’s Empire State CrossFit box to take part in The WODFather, a Master’s CrossFit competition. After hours of grueling workouts, some walked away with medals, but all proved that age is truly just a number.
Mamaroneck resident Jeff Corbin, who has done CrossFit for two years, competed in the 45 to 49 age bracket and came away with a third-place finish. Two other Empire State CrossFitters, Jeanette Strauss and Erika Ungar, placed second and third in the women’s 40 to 44 division, respectively.
Corbin, who has competed in several CrossFit competitions throughout the tri-state area, long urged gym owner Daniel Stearns to hold a competition for older CrossFitters. While CrossFit competitions have become more commonplace recently‑Harrison Strength and Fitness held its own invitational on Nov. 9‑Corbin said the offerings for older competitors aren’t quite as popular.
“I had been suggesting it to Dan because there aren’t that many competitions just for Masters,” Corbin said. “You can’t compete at the same level as someone who is 25 years old, so it’s great to go up against people close to the same physical capacity.”
One hundred athletes showed up for the event, which was held in the 5,000-square-foot box–the CrossFit term for a gym–and the competition contained three different workout routines plus a fourth for those, like Corbin, who made it to the finals. Although the athletes were somewhat able to prepare for the first three rounds, the championship WOD, or workout, was not announced before the event.
“Generally, you’ll see the workouts posted two or three weeks before the competition,” Corbin said. “So, you can, if you want, focus on some of the workouts as you get ready.”
Like many CrossFitters, Corbin said he was attracted to the workout phenomenon for its unique approach and soon became caught up in the competitive nature.
“I’ve always been a gym guy, but I got bored with that and I liked the way CrossFit mixed it up with combining cardio, Olympic weight lifting and gymnastics,” he said. “But then you’ve got people talking about the competitions and you have a team aspect to that.”
Saturday’s event was an individual competition, but Corbin said the intense pace actually helped form a sense of camaraderie between the participants.
“The two guys who finished ahead of me, we’re already Facebook friends,” he said. “There’s something about the extent of the types of personalities you’re going to find [at CrossFit], a Type-A personality, someone who is willing to push themselves outside of their comfort zone.”
Though Corbin said he will allow himself a brief rest after Saturday’s WODFather event, he’s looking to get back to competing soon, possibly in December.
As far as Masters competitions, though, Corbin believes his box raised the bar with this weekend’s efforts.
“One of the most amazing things was we had that number of people and people from all around said this was one of the most well-organized events they had been to,” he said. “The place is 5,000 square feet, which isn’t small, but it could have been a free-for-all.”