March 14, 2013
Friendly Competition at CrossFit Bytown
By Kate Rose

“Members have come to find a sense of family and friendly competition where they can push themselves to become as great as they can be. It makes for a great time, and a great atmosphere.” 

Photos courtesy of Chris Patten


Everett Sloan crashed his motorcycle in 2005. He broke his femur, tibia and fibula. He had the ligaments in his knee removed due to infection. He was told he’d never walk again.

Seven years later, in November 2012, Sloan opened CrossFit Bytown, in Ottawa. With co-owners, Jennifer Howitt and Daniel Adams, Bytown is 125 members strong in only four months. Bytown has 50 athletes registered for the Open, and many of them are competing for the first time.

Sloan sits in 12th place in the Canada East after 13.1. His goal is to qualify a Bytown team for Regionals in the affiliate’s first year. 

“I’m definitely proud of everyone so far,” Sloan says.

He is using the Open to strengthen the community at his new affiliate, and convince those reluctant outliers to jump in.

Cory Morrison was one such reluctant athlete. The former hockey player has been training at Bytown for eight weeks, but the competitive nature of the Open convinced him to try it.

“I had friends who are big into CrossFit, and I thought I’d give it a try, as I was getting bored of the regular lifting routine. The atmosphere at Bytown is great, and the Open experience has been awesome,” Morrison says. “The thing that really attracts me to CrossFit is that the workouts are different every night, and 99 percent of what we do, I need improvement on.”

Yancy Craig was 375 pounds when he walked into Bytown. Craig, a self-described 'desk jockey,' had heard of CrossFit but wasn't close to an affiliate until Bytown opened. 

With the support of community at Bytown, Craig registered for the Open and scored 125 reps on 13.1.

“Irrespective of my personal results, the support, encouragement, camaraderie and team spirit exhibited by everyone at the box on ‘Open days’ have been tremendous and elevated what was already a great vibe,” Craig says.

He plans on trying his hardest until 13.5, “to honor my teammates' efforts and improve the box’s ranking.”

Eric Beltrami is another athlete competing for Bytown. Beltrami came to Bytown through Howitt, one of the owners.

“It was Jennifer who introduced me to it because she suggested that our audit team go to her gym as a team-building activity,” he says. “I could finally see what all the murmurs were all about. I was under the impression that it was circuit training. After my first workout at Bytown, to be quite honest, I was not all that impressed because I found that the workout confirmed my prior belief. Jennifer’s enthusiasm about the sport brought me to give it a second chance.”

After two free classes, Beltrami decided to try it out for a longer period.

After his first week of competition, he’s hooked.

“13.1 reminded me of my competitive hockey days. I was nervous about not performing to my level of expectation in front of the Bytown crowd that I had been training with,” he says. “However, it was a truly amazing experience; the amount of people that were involved in supporting, judging and coaching was truly amazing.”

He wants to keep improving so he can compete as often as possible.

Beltrami seems to speak for everyone at Bytown when he says, “Members have come to find a sense of family and friendly competition where they can push themselves to become as great as they can be. It makes for a great time, and a great atmosphere.”