“Last year, I was outside the top 60. This year, I never expected to be so near to the top. … ”
Masters athlete Terri McAllister will face an extra challenge on her quest to get to the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games.
While other qualifiers in the Masters Women 50-54 Division have four days to complete the four events of the Masters Qualifier, McAllister will have just 24 hours.
When the events are released, McAllister will be boarding a flight with her husband, traveling more than 14,000 km (9,000 mi) away to Perth, in western Australia.
“Saturday will be a wash out after the journey,” McAllister said. “I have contacted CrossFit Perth and I don’t think they are open on Sunday, so I can go in at 8 a.m. Monday and I will have until 8 a.m. the next day to complete the four (workouts).”
Despite the challenges of the Open—McAllister finished 38th worldwide—the prospect of completing the four events pales in significance to the life-changing experience of moving to the other side of the world and leaving the community that has become a family for her at Swansea’s Reebok CrossFit Velocity.
“It could be a huge achievement,” said the 51-year-old, “but it is not the end of the world.”
“Last year, I was outside the top 60,” she added. “This year, I never expected to be so near to the top. … This Open really favored me. There were no real issues for me with these workouts.”
Before finding CrossFit, McAllister was a competitive triathlete for her native Canada, finishing second in the 1991 World Championship.
Then seven years ago, she moved with her husband to South Wales, eventually finding her way to Reebok CrossFit Velocity in 2010. She became a coach six months later.
“These people saved me,” McAllister said. “For the first four years in Swansea, I was miserable. These guys are my family.”
McAllister is making the move Down Under after her husband, Bud—who has coached swimming sensation Janet Evans and British Olympians Jemma Lowe and Georgia Davies—took on a new role at a high performance center in western Australia.
And while McAllister admitted that after seven years in the Welsh rain, the change in climate that Australia offers is appealing, she will miss her CrossFit family in Swansea.
“I am devastated to leave this gym,” she said. “I have such a great rapport with everyone here. I love my people at what has become my gym, and I will miss them immensely. I was absolutely blown away by the turnout for my leaving (workout) and night out. … It is hugely emotional to be loved and respected by such an amazing group of people.”
McAllister said she is thankful to the members at Reebok CrossFit Velocity, especially owners Nick Jones and Matthew Evans.
“Huge thanks to Matthew for asking if I'd be interested in coaching almost four years ago, planting the seed which led me to sign up for the Level 1 course,” McAllister said. “It was never in my wildest dreams something I considered or thought I would be good at. What a crazy three years it has been.”
The two owners said McAllister will be missed.
“Terri has been a fantastic ambassador for Reebok CrossFit Velocity over the years, firstly as an athlete and then as a coach,” Jones said. “She has been an inspiration to our members and especially those who have started CrossFit in the last few years within the masters categories. We wish her all the best in her latest adventure Down Under. She will be sorely missed.”
“Terri has been a figure in the gym for the last four years that people just cannot help but be inspired by,” Evans said. “When you watch her work out, she may not have the prettiest mechanics, but she has this amazing tenacity and ability to push herself. I think this was ingrained in her from all those years as a professional triathlete.”
“Everyone looks up to her for this very reason,” Evans added. “She will leave a big hole at Reebok CrossFit Velocity and we wish her every success in her new adventure.”