April 4, 2013
Small in Stature, Big in Heart: Russell Kapper
By Siobhan Kent

"I train to be the best I can be. If someone is better than me at something, then that gives me the impetus to go again and go harder."

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Waterhouse

Russell Kapper is the first to admit he’s a “little fella.” At 165 cm (5-foot-5) and weighing in at around the 70 kg mark (154 pounds), he is significantly lighter than the majority of his Masters competitors. But what he lacks in stature and size, he makes up for with heart, personality, passion and work ethic.

This year, the 52-year-old is shooting for his third appearance at the CrossFit Games. Heading into the final workout of the 2013 CrossFit Open, Kapper is sitting in 14th place on the worldwide Leaderboard. Although, if you ask him, he has no idea where he stands.

“I don’t look at the Leaderboard at all. I just do the best I can with every workout,” Kapper says.

Having posted solid scores in the first four Open workouts, Kapper is assuming 13.5 will be heavy, given Rich Froning and Jason Khalipa will go head-to-head when it is announced.

As always, Kapper is looking forward to the workout, but he admits the Open has affected his training.

“When I start the Open, it’s always exciting. But you have to be smart and cautious during the Open about your other training,” Kapper says.

“Having to save yourself for the Open (workouts), and not knowing what they will be, means you can’t necessarily go as heavy in training as you would usually. But once this week is over, I can go back to training the way I want to train.”

Kapper finished 14th in the Open last year, and seventh at the Games, and plans on taking on the world again this year.

“I’m a little fella, and every year it’s a tough ask to keep getting up in the rankings and be competitive, but I do,” he says.

He adds: “In my age category, most of the guys I compete against are a lot bigger. I’m the smallest and lightest.”

What sets him apart from the rest, are his mental capabilities and the training he does with the Tasmanian CrossFit community, Kapper says.

On a regular basis, he teams up with his business partner and co-owner of CrossFit Works, Anna Smee, owner of CrossFit Collossus, James Thomas, and Drummond Williamson, who runs 42 South.

“Everyone works on the mental side of things, but I train with some great people and we are all very competitive, we want to compete to the best of our ability. I train to be the best I can be. If someone is better than me at something, then that gives me the impetus to go again and go harder,” Kapper says.

“I think our training gives us an advantage. All being coaches, and all training together, we constantly have a few pairs of eyes looking at us and giving us feedback.”

The Open presents a challenge that yields great rewards, Kapper says.

“It’s a great leveller. One day you’re fantastic, the next you are terrible. You can’t be good at everything, but that doesn’t stop you trying,” he says.

He adds: “I love the sport because of what it gives you, what it doesn’t give you and what it tells you about yourself. That’s the whole reason we train, and I’m keen as mustard to do this for as long as I can.”