Marcus Hendren started doing CrossFit in June of 2011 after watching it online. He opted to sign up for the Open in 2012 and finished in an impressive 11th place within the Central East Region.
CrossFit Games Veteran Matt Chan picked him as his “dark horse” to do well at the Central East Regional. Hendren enjoyed a fierce weekend of competition against names like Rich Froning, Dan Bailey and Graham Holmberg. He worked hard and secured a spot at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games.
Hendren, the man who his friends call, “The Silent Assassin,” looks like he has it all, but looks can be deceiving.
Hendren has struggled to get his family to understand his CrossFit journey.
“You might not like everything that I have to say … but I am just going to be honest,” Dave Hendren, Marcus’ father says.
“This is all new to us, we did not know what to expect. This is the first time that we have seen him do any of this,” says Marcus’ mother, Ann Hendren after watching him compete in the 2012 Central East Regional.
Hendren’s family is strong willed and unafraid to tell the world what they believe about anything and everything. Hendren’s parents respectfully and admirably believe in responsibility and priorities. It’s very clear much of Hendren’s dedication and drive within CrossFit comes from a seed planted early on by those who care for him most; those who may not quite understand CrossFit, but they more than understand work and loyalty.
“He puts in a lot of time to CrossFit and sometimes it takes time away from work and he has to work too,” Dave says. “CrossFitting doesn’t pay the bills. It is a tough subject to talk about because it is a tug of war between the two, he is an equal partner and we all are expected to pull our share of the load, it is not fair to the rest of us if he doesn’t.”
Despite the tug of war, Ann says she’s trying to understand what this world is about. “It is not that we aren’t proud of our son. We just do not understand all of this,” she says. “This is all new to us, so seeing this last event was very eye opening for us. We have a lot to think about after seeing all of this.”
CrossFit has been a battle from day one. Constantly trying to improve his sport, while simultaneously convincing his parents of the immense value CrossFit can deliver. “You want your family here … you want your family to stand here and support and yell for you,” he says. “Having your friends and box members are great, but family is family, so it is very important. I know they don’t get it … I almost gave up on them. I didn’t think they were going to show up today.”
Hendren secured his spot to the Games in the final workout by sprinting the last dumbbell farmer carry and doing three muscle-ups unbroken – all with his family watching for the first time. “It felt good … felt really good. You want your family to support you in your passion and this is my passion,” he says. “I want them to understand and support this.”
After Hendren finished school, his family had expectations for him. “I think that when I graduated college and football was over that they wanted me to give up on the athletics and wanted me to focus more on the career and farming,” he explains. “But I am a competitor, I can’t just quit. I can’t just give up on it. But I am not ready to give up on them either … I will keep trying to get them to understand.”
Hendren has proven his ability to balance his profession, passion, and his parents, and still make a name for himself as an elite CrossFitter. Whether it is practicing pistols while harvesting, or refraining from dating for nearly a year, Hendren has managed to make CrossFit work for him, even when everything else was telling him not to.
“I found a way to make it work. It was insanely difficult, but it is not different from what everyone else has to do; it’s time and effort,” he says. “You have to sacrifice for whatever your goals are. I went to work and then I went to workout. That is pretty much all I have done for the last year. I am doing the work to chase a dream down, I am not going right home and watching TV all night and my parents respect that.”
Until Hendren’s parents were introduced to CrossFit at the Central East Regional they simply didn’t know what it entailed. After exposure to the competition, they are at least left with a picture.
“I hope things are a little more valid now; three days ago I was nobody. I have been telling them the whole time, I can do this, I am as good as those guys,” Hendren says.
Soft-spoken Hendren is called “The Silent Assassin” because he prefers solitude. He will not be the guy who seeks out the spot light. He will be the athlete who lets his effort shine by simply trying to out-work everyone else.
“I think it speaks to his strength that he was able to make it this far,” Dave says. “But I can tell you where he will be Monday morning … in the field.”
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