"The CrossFit community is just one big family. When someone needs something, you step up and help out," Renee Hoffer said.
For the first time ever an Open workout called for rowing on an erg.
Anyone who started the 14-minute AMRAP chipper started on the erg for a 60-calorie row.
When the workout was first announced, Renee Hoffer, owner of CrossFit Murdock in Port Charlotte, Fla., thought her members would not be able to submit a score since her affiliate does not own a rowing machine.
“We have been open about two years but had just never invested in a rower yet,” Hoffer said. “I have to admit that I was shocked to see rowing, but that quickly turned into, ‘Where can I get a rower?’”
Before she could reach out to any gyms in the area, she had two boxes reach out to see if they could lend a helping hand.
“It was amazing. As soon as the (workout) was announced, I heard from two area boxes,” Hoffer said. “CrossFit Lakewood Ranch and CrossFit Lawless both offered rowers as they knew we didn’t have them. CrossFit Lakewood Ranch is a little closer, and Friday morning we were knocking on their door.”
Aaron Weedo, owner of CrossFit Lakewood Ranch, said he offered the use of his rowers to the local CrossFit community at large via Facebook, primarily because he didn’t want the lack of a rower to be a reason any CrossFit athlete was not able to complete the Open.
“I have about a dozen rowers at my gym, and I posted something about having extras if anyone needed to borrow,” he said. “Renee called me the next morning, asking to borrow one, and 45 minutes later someone was at the box for immediate pick-up. They definitely found a way to not sit this one out.”
“I cannot say enough good things about the CrossFit community,” Hoffer said. “It really is no surprise to me that CrossFit Lakewood Ranch and CrossFit Lawless offered to help out. The CrossFit community is just one big family. When someone needs something, you step up and help out.”
Throughout the weekend, members of CrossFit Murdock, as well as spring break visitors in the Sarasota area, pulled and grunted their calorie totals away on the lone rower.
“We just staggered everyone in. One person would hop on, complete the 60-calorie row, then the next person would go. It turned out to work pretty nicely,” Hoffer said.
Since many of the athletes at CrossFit Murdock had never been on a rower before, the rower took some getting used to. Despite their inexperience, Hoffer said most athletes were off the rower between the three- to four-and-a-half minute mark.
“The pacing was the hardest,” she said. “All out? Save a little in the tank? Most members had no idea how hard to go out on the row. Lots of people came in during open gym to try it out and get a feel for it.”
Following the weekend, Hoffer resolved that her next investment in the gym would be a rower.
“We have a donation jar set up at the gym right now,” she said. “When people buy a water, 100 percent of the proceeds go to a rowing machine. It was originally set up for a GHD machine until this past weekend.”