YMCA of Central Virginia Member Competes in 2nd Round of Worldwide CrossFit Competition
What started as a dare between an athletic husband and wife team has led to the experience of a lifetime for Lynchburg resident Betsy Vanderburgh, who took her shot at the title of “Fittest Masters Female on Earth” after advancing to the second round of the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games.
When CrossFit was introduced at the Jamerson Family YMCA, Vanderburgh’s husband, Joe, gave the high-intensity workout program a try. He struggled but perservered, then dared his wife to join him. As an Air Force Academy alumna and military veteran, Vanderburgh’s life has revolved around fitness and mental fortitude. Not one for backing down from a challenge, Vanderburgh accepted and now finds herself on the international CrossFit stage.
“The CrossFit workouts were so ridiculously difficult that it wasn’t long before I realized that was the beauty and genius of the whole thing,” said Vanderburgh. “Even the best athletes must struggle through and push themselves to complete a workout. Everyone is laughing afterward and it’s a lot of childish fun to swing up on a bar, climb a rope, jump up on things, and skip rope.”
Vanderburgh’s journey began with the CrossFit Open, an opportunity for members from every affiliate globally to complete specified workouts over a five-week period with the strongest proceeding to Regionals. Older athletes and teenagers skip the Regionals and instead compete in an Online Qualifier against their top peers. Vanderburgh made the first cut, placing 45th, worldwide in her age group (55-59) and advancing to the Online Qualifier, which was held the weekend of April 20-23.
Vanderburgh placed 29th out of 200 participants during the online qualifier which challenges athletes’ mental and physical game with max lifts, high-skill movements and tests of general physical preparedness. Now in its fifth year, the Online Qualifier is a stepping stone for both masters and teenagers on their journeys to the CrossFit Games. Vanderburgh has completed the four assigned workouts for this stage of the competition, which were videotaped and validated by a licensed CrossFit affiliate.
“I’m not a professional athlete, trainer or coach,” said Vanderburgh. “I’m not in it for the trophy. I love the peer pressure, the camaraderie and the loud music. The coaches are so good at helping everyone take what they have and build on it to become stronger, faster and fitter. I hope my experience will help more people see CrossFit as less intimidating and more health and strength building.”
Vanderburgh is among the rapidly growing community of CrossFit enthusiasts – more than 1,500 affiliates launched in the past year alone to accommodate the increased interest, bringing the total number of locations to 14,500 worldwide. The all-inclusive CrossFit Open has become one of the largest participatory fitness events in the world, with 385,000 people competing in 2017.
The YMCA of Central Virginia offers two CrossFit programs; Jamerson Crossfit which is held at the Jamerson Family YMCA, and CrossFit Seven Hills at the Downtown YMCA. Both programs are led by enthusiastic trained professionals committed to seeing athletes grow and reach their goals in a safe environment. In addition to CrossFit for adults, the Jamerson Family YMCA offers CrossFit Kids during the summer for youth ages 8 - 13 years old.
Additional information about the CrossFit program offered through the YMCA of Central Virginia is available online, at https://www.ymcacva.org/crossfit.html.