"My first year, I was 25. Now, I'm 31. It definitely makes a difference. People are getting stronger and I'm getting older."
For the past five years, Patrick Burke has been a strong contender at the CrossFit Games. From 2008 to 2010, he crept up the Leaderboard from 21st to eighth to seventh. In 2011, he fell to 13th, then to 16th in 2012.
“My first year, I was 25,” Burke says. “Now, I’m 31. It definitely makes a difference. People are getting stronger and I’m getting older.”
In the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open, Burke placed 41st in the South West Region.
“I squeaked into Regionals this year,” he said, chuckling. “This one was a little hairy.”
The owner of MBS CrossFit in Broomfield, Colo., Burke put on 20 pounds after last year’s Games, which he says contributed to his performance.
“(Gaining the weight) was great for lifting weights, but not so great for other exercises.”
Throughout the Open, Burke’s co-worker, Emilee Brent says he struggled through the workouts.
“He has a hard time turning his mind off,” says Brent, the athlete services manager at MBS CrossFit. “He cares so much about other people and how they’re doing, it affects him. I saw him do the exercises — he was battling sickness and the extra weight … I know that when he puts his mind to it, he makes it look effortless.”
In spite of the struggle, Brent says she still thinks Burke will do well at the next level.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him kick butt in Regionals.”
Burke says he’s since lost some weight, but is still training to get used to the added pounds.
“I’ve been training with a 15- to 20-lb. weight vest for the past six months,” he says. “That way, when I take it off I feel light. I’m feeling really good right now.”
In addition to the new training techniques, Burke relies on the support of his wife, Janelle, and their 18-month-old daughter, Payton.
“My daughter screams at me and claps when I’m working out,” he says. “It’s a great motivator.”
He also depends on the support of the other athletes and coaches in his gym.
“We have a large team to train with. I have 20 people to push me. It’s a fun environment.”
A native of Penrose, Colo., Burke says he kept himself busy growing up playing baseball and football. After completing one semester of college, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he was a martial arts instructor.
It was during his time as a Marine when Burke first learned about CrossFit. That was almost nine years ago.
“As a martial arts instructor, I taught thousands of Marines through large group instruction,” he says. “Once I learned CrossFit, it was a natural progression to opening my own gym and start teaching.”
Burke opened MBS CrossFit in 2007. Since opening the affiliate, he has worked tirelessly to foster a community of athletes and coaches.
“In the past five-and-a half-years, we’ve become one of the largest gyms in Colorado,” he says. “(CrossFit) is fun. It works for the old and the young, the athletes and the soccer moms. It’s one language.”
Throughout the past decade, Burke has seen CrossFit grow into a worldwide sport.
“Before, I felt like I was doing this underground, secret stuff,” he remembers. “Now, people get it.”
Those at MBS CrossFit say his enthusiasm and desire to excel are what makes him so successful in the sport.
“Pat is probably one of the most passionate people I know,” Brent says. “I honestly don’t know how he does it all. His motto is that he helps people change their lives through fitness. People look up to him. He is a huge presence in the gym.”
Burke adds: “I love helping people find challenges and conquer their goals. That’s why I do this."