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Local CrossFit members compete in Festivus Games

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Jonah Beleckis
Sunday, October 15, 2017

JANESVILLE—As Tricia Vander Mause was reaching her limit during the Deadlift Ladder portion of Saturday's CrossFit competition, the cheers were getting louder.

Even when she signaled she was finished, the crowd—consisting of her teammate, her competitors and everyone in between—clapped and screamed their loudest.

Vander Mause of Fort Atkinson hated weightlifting before she joined CrossFit four or five years ago. But she loves how encouraging and positive everyone is even when she didn't do great on the second-to-last bar, she said.

“They were happy for me, and I would be happy for them if the situation was reversed,” she said.

Wearing shirts that said, “Never mess with a girl who does Burpees for fun,” Vander Mause and her teammate, Pam Van Brocklin, of Milton, competed at Janesville's CrossFit608 facility Saturday for the local installment of CrossFit's Festivus Games.

The Festivus Games are closed to fire breathers—a high level of CrossFit competitor. The event is designed “for the rest of us,” a nod to the holiday from the TV show Seinfeld. The medals said “Feats of Strength.”

A vast majority of CrossFit members are not at the level of what people see on ESPN, said Eric Engler, an L1 CrossFit trainer, which means he's one of the Janesville coaches.

If they have a class of 20 people, about 16 of them are at the levels seen Saturday, which saw 60 teams of two sign up, he said.

The Festivus event is held nationwide for people at beginner or intermediate levels to compete.

“Just because you can't play in the NBA doesn't mean you can't play Horse,” Engler said. “Just because you're not going to play on the PGA Tour doesn't mean you don't want to go out and swing the sticks with your kids.”

Van Brocklin has been doing CrossFit for two-and-a-half years. She has only been into fitness for the last 14 years—after she turned 40, she said.

She ran 10 marathons in 10 years and got tired of feeling weak, she said.

Even if people are not at the level she is today, she said the program can be for everyone.

“The coaches are so helpful, scaling it for everybody,” Van Brocklin said. “You come in. You are off the couch. There's a program for you. You come into the classes, the coaches will modify everything for you. It's really awesome.”

Eric Stockman, who owns CrossFit608 with his wife, Katie, said he loved the look of excitement on peoples' faces when they set personal records.

CrossFit608, at 545 N. Main St., offers a free class from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday nights. Stockman said the workouts they offer are scaled to meet anyone at their level.

Vander Mause said the camaraderie of CrossFit is what she has liked the most. She encouraged people to give the program a try.

“We cheer for the person who did the best and the person who did the worst or the slowest of the lightest weight,” she said. “We still cheer for them because for them that was a challenge and they overcame it.”



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