A gritty competition involving 26 pairs of CrossFit and other gym enthusiasts raised $1800 for Waikato Women's Refuge earlier this month.
The September 16 event was the first to link regional CrossFit affiliates with a charity fundraising initiative. It was held at three venues - Hamilton's East's CrossFit 3216, CrossFit Alpha Brave, and Matamata's Triple Eight Functional Fitness - under the banner 'Women Overcoming Domestic Violence (WOD)', attracting 82 participants and well over that number of cheering supporters.
The idea to invite CrossFit converts to put their collective muscle behind a worthy cause came from Waikato Women's Refuge project co-ordinator Ilyn Signal, and her sister Megan Signal, who co-owns Auckland-based Renegade Performance and CrossFit East Tamaki.
Megan said that while organising fundraisers within the fitness community wasn't new, she had been motivated to adapt the template for a charitable cause after Ilyn returned from Dubai and took up a job with the Waikato Women's Refuge.
"I was inspired by what they deal with on a day-to-day basis," she said. "It struck me that we could do a fundraiser that promoted the same sense of empowerment that CrossFit provides to its members."
The sisters called for hosts to come forward, put the word out to the wider fitness community via social media, and approached related businesses for support.
"The response was really good," said Ilyn.
"Everyone was very willing to get behind us ... a lot of great sponsors came on board."
CrossFit 3216, Hamilton's CrossFit Alpha Brave and Matamata's Triple Eight Functional Fitness stepped up to host the event, while entrants signed up from regional and Auckland groups. The entry fee for each of the 'couples' teams from CrossFit affiliates and other participating facilities swelled the Women's Refuge coffers.
Competitors took part in either RX (elite) or scaled category events. After a gruelling set of workouts, Brooke and Siaosi Tuatao claimed the win in the RX category, while the pairing of Rose Carn and Syd Milne won in the scaled category.
Among them was FITmumz and FITcomm from Auckland, who between them entered 13 pairs on Saturday - or half the number of competitors at CrossFit 3216.
The sisters said the fundraiser had been the first competition for some members.
Ilyn said they were delighted at the turnout and the funds raised for Women's Refuge, and said they hoped it could become either an annual or seasonal event.
By Viv Posselt