Crossfit: Fitness fanatics battle it out

By Joseph Aldridge

Fitness buffs from around New Zealand converged on Tauranga to answer the question - who is the fittest mixed CrossFit team in the country?

Held at TECT Arena, two days of gruelling competition involving skipping ropes, pull-up bars, awkwardly balanced weights and truck tires, sorted the men from the boys - not to mention the women from the girls.

Auckland's CrossFit HPU won top prize at this year's Mount CrossFit National Team Competition - the biggest CrossFit competition in the country.

Seventy teams, comprising two men and two women, travelled from around New Zealand to compete in the event, which is in its second year and rapidly growing.

Event manager Tim Paton-Tapsell said CrossFit was essentially the sport of fitness.

"It's strength, it's fitness, it's technique and it's skill.

"The concept behind CrossFit is that you're fit and/or strong enough to do almost anything."

The popularity of CrossFit as a worldwide fitness phenomenon and competitive sport has exploded in recent years and Tauranga has become a hub for New Zealand athletes because of the success of the Mount CrossFit club.

"There is a huge demand for this competition format here in New Zealand," Paton-Tapsell said.

"Other CrossFit competitions here in New Zealand are for individuals only, so this is the only teams' event of this scale."

Organisers hoped the competition would become a major event and attract thousands of spectators, similar to the Wellington Rugby Sevens and appropriately themed this year's competition Fictional Characters.

Tauranga team H.A.N.K (Hamish, Aaron, Nicola and Kim) came dressed as Fred and Pebbles from The Flintstones.

The Fred Flintstone outfits came off for the final heat on Sunday and the two men competed in matching Borat-style mankinis.

Police officer Aaron Williams said the mankini was "horrendous" to compete in, however he had enjoyed the two-day event.

Williams said he was attracted to CrossFit because of its high-intensity and diverse challenges, as well as the results it produced and the sense of community it engendered.

Teammate Kim Muir said people did not have to be super athletic to participate in CrossFit.

"You start out with what you can and you very quickly realise that you can do a lot more than you thought you could, and from there it just grows every session."

H.A.N.K said the competition had been well organised and attended and they were sure it would grow in size.

Williams said that he would not be wearing the mankini outside of the TECT Arena at Baypark.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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