July 26, 2013
Beasts of Burden
By CrossFit
Teams tested by Pigs and Worms, then treated like dogs. 
Teams tested by Pigs and Worms, then treated like dogs. 

Teams tested by Pigs and Worms, then treated like dogs.

CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro revealed a Pig and a Worm at the athlete’s reception on Wednesday night.

The Pig, essentially a giant dumbbell athletes will flip end over end, was followed by the Worm, a log cut into six pieces and linked together by rope. In the Burden Run, both beasts were set in front of 43 teams vying to become the fittest in the world.

With a start point near Vendor Village, teams had to run 2.1 miles around the grounds of the StubHub Center before entering the track for 50 yards of Pig flips by the women and then 50 yards of flips by the men. Before grabbing the new implement, the men carried four 45-lb. plates and added them to the Pig to fatten it up when the women were finished. If that wasn’t enough, teams then had to carry the Worm 660 yards from the track to the finish line in the soccer stadium.

Directly after the Burden Run came the Iditarod 1/2/3 events. In the Iditarod—the northern version—16-dog sleds race more than 1,000 miles in Alaska in March. In the Team Iditarod at the CrossFit Games, humans took the place of the animals. In three separately scored races, mixed pairs dragged a 175-lb. sled plus a load of either 135, 180 or 225 lb. 66 yards in a race against 42 other pairs.

An hour before the teams took off on their 2.1-mile run, veteran Games athlete Angie Hay, who is competing with Team Taranis this year, expressed some anxiety.

“I’m really nervous. The nerves are just the same (as the individual competition),” said Hay. She added that one of her fearful thoughts has been, ‘Oh God, I don’t want to let us down.’”

Hay’s team’s strategy was just to work hard, stay calm and “try not to get your neck too out of place with the log here,” she said.

At 9 o’clock sharp, it was impossible for athletes not to feel crowded as all 43 teams—each made up of 6 athletes—took off together and attacked the run around the StubHub grounds.

For the most part, the pack of 200-plus athletes stayed in a relatively close heap throughout the run, but some teams sent one athlete out in front to get to the track to claim their Pig. The Pigs closer to the road shortened the distance of the Worm carry that followed.

Quad City CrossFit’s Paul Hamer pulled away from the other runners early and was the first to arrive at his 310-lb. Pig. He posted a time of 12:29 and had to wait for his teammates to arrive. But the events wasn’t about just one runner, defending champs Hack’s Pack Ute was the first team to have all six members at the Pig.

Hack’s Pack maintained their lead throughout the Pig flip, finishing that leg of the event in 19:17. They increased the lead during the 405-lb. Worm carry.

Their teamwork was unmatched; they looked like they regularly practice log carries as they seamlessly cleaned the awkward segmented Worm to their shoulders in unison and jogged with it the 650 yards back to soccer stadium. They even coordinated shoulder switches to avoid having to put the log down.

But most teams had a harder time with the Worm. Caleb Sommers of Front Range CrossFit explained how his team prepared and how the event ended up going down.

“We practiced last night with lawn chairs,” he said.

But when it came to competition, “It was chaos,” Sommers added. One of his teammates, Dave Foster, actually sustained an injury during the event.

“The Worm log dropped on his hand … . We don’t know how it’s going to impact our weekend,” Sommers said.

Hack’s Pack arrived at the finish line in a time of 23:38.3, well ahead of second- and third-place finishers CrossFit Nordic and CrossFit Fort Vancouver. Once all the teams arrived at the soccer stadium and claimed a lane, they took a quick break before beginning the Iditarod events.

The first Iditarod race with 135 lb. lasted only 23 seconds for the winning team, CrossFit New England. They were followed closely by CrossFit Select.

Teams then unloaded their sleds, dragged them back to the start line, and re-loaded them with 180 lb. After a short reset break, all teams sent their second pairs across the field for Iditarod 2.

The second Iditarod was less of a sprint than the first for most. The heavier sled hampered some teams, bringing some to a dead stop. In some cases, athletes were on all fours, digging their fingers into the grass, scratching, crawling, doing anything they could to move the sled the last precious meters to the finish line.

The range in times was drastic. While the winning team—CrossFit Wilmington—managed to keep the sled moving, finishing in 40.1 seconds, while the final team took more than 4 minutes to complete the pull.

The final load was heavier still. With 225 lb. on each sled, athletes had to be concerned after witnessing so many athletes struggle with 180 lb. in the previous run.

Some teams took off fast but hit a wall and slowed down to a walk halfway through the 66-yard course. A few teams struggled just to get the sled to budge, and the time cap expired before a few teams finished.

The winning team from CrossFit Fraser Valley—Robert Perovich and Ruth Unaegbu—was impressive: they managed to finish in 38.8 seconds, which was well ahead of CrossFit Dallas Central’s 52.3.

Overall, Hack’s Pack Ute is in first overall with 202 points.

Event Winners

Burden Run
1. Hack's Pack UTE (25:38.3)
2. CrossFit Nordic (26:05.9)
3. CrossFit Fort Vancouver (26:12.4)

Iditarod 1 
1. CrossFit New England (23.0)
2T. Quad City CrossFit (24.2)
2T. CrossFit Select (24.2)

Iditarod 2
1. CrossFit Wilmington (40.1)
2. CrossFit Kilo (40.2)
3. CrossFit Explode (40.9)

Iditarod 3
1. CrossFit Fraser Valley (38.8)
2. CrossFit Dallas Central (52.3)
3. Hack's Pack UTE (53.0)

For complete standings and all scores from all divisions, visit the Leaderboard.