After competing at One For The People in 2015 and placing 11th, it was time to see how far I’d come in two years and push for a spot on the podium. Sam and I finished in second place at the Inferno Pairs Series a couple of weeks ago so it was time to put what we had learnt in Sheffield to the test.
After four months of CrossFit, One For the People 2015 was my first ever partner competition. Back then 40kg snatches felt unbelievably heavy, so I was buzzing for Carl and I to finish in 11th place. Since 2015 the competition has grown with 100 male teams and 60 female teams taking part and selling out within 24 hours. Sam and I were quietly confident coming into this competition and three of the four workouts we knew, would be good ones. It would be all about damage control on those 1km sandbag carries.
The rain tried to ruin what was to be a fantastic day of workouts but everyone seemed to ignore it. The DJ was pumping the tunes out and MC Martin Wolstencroft (Wooly) was on fine form as per usual. It’s worth coming to spectate just to listen to that man MC all day. With the event being 100% outside the rain did affect a few of the workouts, but it was the same for everyone and people seemed to just get on with it. The venue was spot on and just as I remembered it. They were serving teas and coffees all day as well as bacon and sausage sandwiches. There was lots of parking and additional porta-loos brought in to accommodate spectators and athletes. What more could you want?
Workout 1 (10th)
- Partner A Runs 1000m with 7.5kg Sandbag
- Partner B Runs 1000m with 7.5kg Sandbag
Thankfully I had taken my rugby boots for extra grip on this 1km trail run. The ladies went first and their footsteps and the drizzle made the course slippy in places. They made it look horrible which only added to my nerves. We planned for Sam to go off first to get us off to a good start and then I would try and hold onto our placing. I knew for a fact there would be some runners amongst the 100 teams of two males and so knew a top ten finish would be a great result for us.
As expected Sam started well and came back in 6th place. All I had to do now was hold onto that. Five other teams were close to Sam when handing the sandbag over but I managed around 200m without anyone passing me. It came to a long hill and then I started to slow down with people passing me. I knew there was a descent to the course and so planned to try and catch people back up going down there with the grip on my rugby boot studs. Before I knew it four other people had passed – making me 11th. I kept within touching distance of two athletes in 9th and 10th and then on the descent started to make a move. There was around 200m to go so I flicked a switch and sped up going back onto the field. I was right in 10th place and had the length of a rugby field to beat him back to the finish line. I found some energy and went for it. I passed him and then just now had to hold on for the last 80m. My calves and quads were on fire but I just kept moving and managed to hold onto tenth place; I couldn’t catch ninth. I said a top ten finish would be good and we came tenth. Sam and I emptied our tanks on this one. We’re nowhere near runners and so gave it our all to limit as much leaderboard damage as possible. However, we were off to a ‘bad’ start here, so we knew we had to go hard in every workout.
Workout 2 (1st)
Max reps in 5 minutes:
- Unbroken Hang Clean + Shoulder to Overhead 60kg
- Complete 10 Sandbag Front Squats (15/22.5kg) before the start of each set
This one was on paper a good workout for us but we were nervous due to the fact we needed to win it to stand any chance of climbing the leaderboard. I knew Sam was strong enough to rep out 10+ each time and so we aimed for 10+ reps each set. Our warm up went well and we were pumped for this one. I had run through this on my own and knew 70 reps would be a decent score.
At One For The People, you judge another team in another heat all day and they judge you in return. This saves on having to get judge volunteers and worked well. This is the only competition I have seen this happen at, but it seems to work.
I started us off and did the ten sandbag squats then advanced to the barbell. The first rep could be a full clean into the shoulder to overhead, which helped. The first few reps for most teams proved tricky as the workout was on grass and so you had to adjust to the moist and uneven underfoot. Ten reps seemed to go quickly and then I managed to hold on for 15 reps. This was a mistake. I could feel my forearms starting to ache and my grip fading already. Sam moved onto the barbell and made light work of his first reps and squeezed out the first set of 13. We then went sets of 10 or more for two further sets. I then had 35 seconds to have to hold onto the bar and get as many reps as possible. By this point, my grip was in bits. I churned out eight reps and held on until the last second somehow. Our judge from Team ‘Spice Boys’ counted each rep out so I knew we had done 78 reps by the end of the workout. While resting between my sets I was looking around and was sure that no one else was moving as fast as we were. I was confident this was a good score. Thankfully it was good enough for a first place finish by seven reps. The next team was the Pykett brothers (who are big lads) with 71 reps. They had done well on the run and I knew they would now be in first place overall. A tenth and a first place left us with 11 points, and after two events this put us in third place behind Scunny Massive.
Workout 3 (2nd)
In pairs and alternating rounds complete AMRAP in 10 minutes:
- 7 Bar Facing Burpees
- 7 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches 15/20kg
- 20m Single Arm Dumbbell Overhead Walking Lunge 15/20kg
- 7 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches 15/20kg
- 7 Bar Facing Burpees
Another workout and time to empty the tank. This one I was looking forward to. I had a play around with this midweek and knew I could move through it fast and unbroken. This one was hard to get pumped for as I knew a world of pain awaited. Luckily we had the Spice Boys to judge us and they were in good spirits. I went first again to get us off to a fast start as my burpees are quicker than Sam’s. I knew we would each get three rounds and if it came down to an extra round, I wanted to do it as this workout was a strength for me.
I went off hard and held onto a good pace the first round finishing it in 1:24 and then it was Sam’s turn. He also went out hard but hadn’t run through the workout and so I think he was shocked at how difficult the lunges were. We whipped through two rounds each and then it started to get tough to recover and then go again in around 1:30. I was still going quicker than Sam, and he was getting less rest, which probably didn’t help his third round. I don’t know how but he managed to lunge horizontally on his last rep to maintain his balance and finish his final set of lunges; it was incredible to watch his determination. He managed to finish our sixth round in 8:44 and I had to do a fourth round.
At this point, there were three teams neck and neck with us. However, I knew the other teams would be fatigued and I wanted to catch them on the lunges. They were around 4-5 reps in front and so I set about chasing them down with only MC Wooly’s commentary to enthuse me. I moved as fast as possible through the burpees and snatches and then the lunges were HARD. My glutes, shoulders and quads were on fire. I did 10m unbroken and then braced myself for the next 10m after the turnaround. Thankfully I held on and then went through the dumbbell snatches unbroken. After these, there were 13 seconds left to run over to the bar and burpee. Somehow I managed five reps which was one more rep than the team who started the last round in second place. We finished second in this workout and knew this would be enough to put us in joint first place with the team who finished third, Scunny Massive.
Workout 4 (1st)
- 100m Buddy Carry
- 10 Thrusters 40/60kg
- 100m Sandbag Sprint 22.5kg
- 10 Thrusters 40/60kg
- 100m Sprint
The pressure was on. We were in joint first place and knew we had to beat Scunny Massive to win as the team in third were seven points away and so unless we had a nightmare we would come first or second place. The introduction by MC Wooly to the final workout felt a little bit hostile as Scunny Massive had a CrossFit Leeds favourite in it and the crowd’s cheers upon their introduction reflected this. For me, this was even more reason to perform and win. It seemed to take forever for workout four to get started and the nerves were building. The five top teams were all positioned next to one another so the spectators could see who was winning. This proved useful for us too as we could see if we needed to push it harder during the workout. We changed our plan last minute and I am thankful that we did. Sam was originally going to do both sets of thrusters, but during previous heats, we saw teams struggling after one set and changed our plan.
I knew it was only going to be a two-minute workout and so we needed to go all out. The clock was set and I sprinted off with Sam on my shoulders. Luckily for me Sam weights 75kg and so it wasn’t too bad. We decided to go unbroken and this gave us a narrow lead for me to drop Sam off for his set of ten thrusters. As expected he smashed these and I sprinted off while he grabbed the sandbag and did the 100m. He was only a few seconds behind me and when he was back I started my ten thrusters. We had a slight lead and I wasn’t about to let this slip. I went unbroken and hoped I had enough left in the tank to finish the workout and sprint 100m. I struggled to get moving but saw Sam scurrying towards the 50m mark and knew I had to step it up. I managed to pick up a decent pace and finish ahead of the other teams and at that point I knew we had won One For The People 2017. What a feeling. We managed to finish the workout in 2:06, which was two seconds ahead of any other team.
I couldn’t stop smiling we had finally won a competition on the third time of asking. Fair enough it was a local competition, but a win is a win. In the end, we managed to win by eight points after event four, as Scunny Massive dropped into third after an 11th place finish.
After the final workout there was a huge group picture and then individual CrossFit gym pictures which seemed to take forever. UGD and Draw Media had been filming all day and so we did a summary video in between all of the waiting around. It was incredible to have Lauren, Sam and Dan around all day for moral support. Sam and Dan from UGD and my current training partner Lauren never make it to my competitions but have such a big influence on my performance. I think that them being present certainly helped. They were heroes all day.
One For The People 2017 was my girlfriend Beckie’s first ever competition. She partnered up with Jess Worsey who had competed in the Rocket category at Rainhill a few weeks before. Beckie was an inspiration all day. She never gave up and I was so proud of her. At one point she slipped over on the wet grass mid overhead dumbbell lunge and bounced straight back up and continued. She was throwing 40kg around like it was nothing and is slowly becoming a little ninja. Sam was also amazing all day and we did so well in the last workout due to him pointing out how difficult those thrusters looked.
Spraying the champagne on the podium felt amazing. I still couldn’t believe I had won a local competition that two years ago seemed impossible. As expected the day was very well organised and Mike and CrossFit Leeds put on another great event. The teams judging each other worked well and the prizes were decent for a smaller local CrossFit competition. The facility was suitable and there was enough parking and toilet facilities for everyone. It was a shame about the weather, but no one let this dampen their spirits and everyone had a great time.
Mine and Sam’s next competition is Canarias Gone Bad on 29-30 September in Tenerife, and we’ll be competing alongside some of the best CrossFit partnerships in Europe. I cannot wait.