Matt Bylander, Marina Oberndorf, Adam Tulk, Jan Matheji, Tanguy Exume and Megan Neumann from Surrey CrossFit. (Submitted photo)

Surrey athletes gear up for Crossfit Competition

The ‘Fraser Valley Throwdown’ takes place at Abbotsford Centre on Oct. 28th and 29th

Although Marina Oberndorf and her husband own two CrossFit gyms, they learned early on that it wasn’t for the faint of heart.

“A mutual friend was bugging my husband to try it out, and once he did, he couldn’t walk for four days,” said Oberndorf.

“That’s when I said, I gotta try this out.”

Oberndorf was a former gymnast, so the intensity of the sport had her hooked immediately. She and her husband later identified a lack of CrossFit gyms in New Westminster and Surrey.

Their first CrossFit gym opened up in Queensborough in 2014, while their gym in Fraser Heights opened in in January, 2016.

Oberndorf and her husband first started doing CrossFit back in 2012. Now, they own two gyms and will once again be competing in the ‘Muscle Mlk Fraser Valley Throwdown’ CrossFit competition at Abbotsford Centre this weekend.

Twenty different athletes between Oberndorf’s two gyms will be heading to the competition this weekend that features 330 different athletes.

Eight of those athletes will be coming from her Surrey CrossFit facility.

“It’s really cool that I’ve trained with a lot of the athletes that are competing since 2012,” said Oberndorf. “I remember day one when they couldn’t do a pull-up. It’s been amazing to watch them grow.”

“The community of people is one of my favourite parts about it,” she said.

While the group aspect of CrossFit keeps Oberndorf invested in the sport, there’s more to it than just the ‘fun’ aspect. That’s clear by the fact that the CrossFit gym in Surrey is producing some elite local talent.

One of the teams to come out of the Surrey CrossFit gym, called ‘Angry Panda,’ ended up winning the whole CrossFit competition in Abbotsford last year. Head coaches Adam Tulk and Grace Cheung coached the team of four to victory last year, and they’re looking for the repeat.

Oberndorf also notes that one of their members, Jan Matheji, 56, is competing in the 45+ category.

“He’s pretty inspiring to watch,” said Oberndorf.

Oberndorf herself will be competing over the weekend as well. While she’s excited to take part in the competition once again, she’s not setting any crazy expectations.

“I want to have fun, first of all. I signed up at the last minute through some peer pressure. We’ll see how it goes.”

“I compete in the age 39 and over category,” she said. “Last time I finished in third so hopefully, I can get there again.”

She’s lucky to have signed up at the last minute. After talking to event promoter Mike Hill, he says that the 335 spots get filled up in less than a day.

“The spots fill up very, very quickly. We can only take so many athletes at the venue,” Hill said.

The Crossfit competition started out in Penticton at the Okanagan Events Centre in 2013, and they just expanded to Abbotsford last year, the first edition of the Fraser Valley Throwdown.

Although most of the athletes are from the Lower Mainland, Hill notes that the event draws competitors from all over British Columbia. Some competitors are even coming out from Ontario and Nebraska.

The goal for Hill in the future is to have the event at an outdoor stadium so that more athletes can be included.

If you’re interested in cheering on the CrossFit athletes from Surrey, tickets are available for purchase online or at the door starting at $13 per person.

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A shot from the 2016 Fraser Valley Throwdown at the Abbotsford Centre. (Stirl and Rae photo)

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