March 12, 2012
The Jewell that is Jules Sterling
By Jane Holgate
Fighting through Open Workouts and breast cancer.
Fighting through Open Workouts and breast cancer.

"That's the beauty of CrossFit--you can do anything you put your mind to."


Open Workout 12.2 had a mixed reception. Some people loved it because it gave them the opportunity to stretch themselves and try for a PR; others were not so keen on the big jumps in weights.

One person in particular was thrilled with the results of last week. Not only did Jules Sterling bag a massive snatch PR, she did it 19 times. At the same time, she was waiting to hear back from her doctor to find out if her recent course of radiotherapy was successful. It was two days later when she found out she no longer had breast cancer.  

Sterling has been a dedicated member of CrossFit Reading since it opened in 2008. She says it was just what she had been looking for – a sport where you are constantly competing with yourself.  She was a member of the CrossFit Reading team at Regionals in 2011.

She couldn’t have been happier when 12.1 was announced. “I love burpees and quite often do a 100-burpee finisher,” she says. “I did it at 0600 with coach Paul McCabe and got 102, so was happy with that. This was a great start for me; however, snatch isn't a lift I do often. Having a dodgy shoulder, it's one lift I have to be careful with so my current PB, of quite some time, was 66 pounds.”

Warming up to 66 pounds, Sterling was delighted when she managed to get 13 reps at 75 pounds in the workout, but as that was at 6 a.m., with just two other people in the room – her coach Paul and her partner Chet. She was convinced she had more to give, so she returned to the gym two days later and gave it another go with a box full of people cheering her on. She improved her score by six reps, with 49 reps.

This was a great performance by the 43-year-old mother of two, who just eight months earlier was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Throughout her battle with cancer, Sterling underwent two operations and a course of radiotherapy. “I tried not to think about it really. That's the beauty of CrossFit – you can do anything you put your mind to.”

She hasn’t let her illness stop her from enjoying her life and CrossFit. While she was disappointed to miss a few local competitions, it didn’t stop her from training. She was back in the gym 10 days after surgery.

Support from her family, friends, and CrossFit family has helped her through her medical treatment. “Everyone was amazing at the box,” she says. “I'm so glad it’s all over now and I can take part in the Games knowing it's all gone. I know how lucky I am.”



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