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Marysville firefighters test their fitness
MARYSVILLE — Firefighters rarely get mistaken for accountants or writers. They’re the brawny heroes who run toward danger while most of us run the other way.
Certainly Marysville firefighters Noah Pester and Ryan Swobody fall into that category.
On June 10, Pester and Swobody began the grueling CrossFit Northwest Regionals Open held in Puyallup. Pester finished third in the three-day event and earned a spot to the Reebok CrossFit Games, held July 29-31, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Swobody, who failed to qualify for regionals last year, finished 18th. The top 60 men and women from Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Wyoming participated in the regional exercise competition with the top three men, women and teams advancing.
“We train so hard so it feels really good to move on,” said 29-year-old Pester, who owns the CrossFit Marysville gym, 1528 Third Street, Suite B. “It takes a tremendous amount of stamina and discipline to compete in such a tough competition, but we love it.”
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning workout program built on functional movements at a high intensity. Workouts range from running, deadlift lifting, overhead squats, pull-ups, rowing and a variety of other arduous exercises.
The objective is to accumulate the least amount of points. Athletes earn the number of points that correspond with where they finish in each of the six events — first place receives one point and so on. Pester finished with 86 points and Swobody ended with 104 points.
“The idea is to have the lowest score and I wasn’t as low as I wanted,” Swobody said. “It’s brutal and the field is so strong. But I am happy where I finished. Last year I didn’t make it out of sectionals. For some reason I performed better on the second day. I think it was because, for the most part, the pressure was off me. I just went out and did my best.”
More than 26,000 athletes from as far away as Australia competed in a six-week online competition in order to qualify for the regional event. They could either perform their workouts at a local affiliated gym or film and submit their workouts to the official website. With submissions being posted online, athletes were able to track how they stacked up against others in their region and from around the world.
“We pretty much do CrossFit all year,” Pester said. “And then we’ll add some two-a-day workouts to get ready for the grind of the competition. I’ll add more strength-type workouts to try to build up more before the beating I am going to take.”
Last year’s 47th-place finish at regionals may have done some good for Pester, who’s been a gym rat since before high school.
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted last year,” Pester said. “But I was able to point out my weaknesses and I worked to improve them. I must have done something right.”
Historically the event organizers for the CrossFit Games have added a few surprise-workout challenges, but athletes can be sure to expect a combination of gymnastics, powerlifting, olympic lifting, jump rope, climbing ropes and lengthy runs.
“We will have some of the best athletes around,” Pester said. “So, I know we have a big test ahead of us.”