CrossFit competitors take on Marine Corps’ ‘Battleground’

6 Aug 2018 | Lance Cpl Haley Gawronski The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

The Marine Corps partnered with CrossFit during the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games, where thousands of individuals from around the world gathered to compete and spectate at the Alliant Energy Center, August 1-5.

The CrossFit Games are the annual flagship event and the centerpiece of the Corps’ marketing relationship with the sports organization. It helps Marines establish and maintain connections with athletes, coaches and parents to ensure lasting relationships continue post event. 

“From the very beginning, the cultures of the Marine Corps and CrossFit have aligned perfectly,” said Maj. Gen. James Bierman, the commanding general of Marine Corps Recruiting Command. “As Marines, we don’t know what to expect, so we work hard – train hard – physically and mentally, so we can thrive in situations of uncertainty, and that is exactly what CrossFit athletes are all about.”

CrossFit, founded in the year 2000, promotes physical exercise philosophy and competitiveness. The workouts revolve around functional body movements that reflect calisthenics, plyometrics, gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing, swimming and many others. These athletes face internal challenges, of which they overcome during nearly every workout – revealing their fighting spirits. 

“CrossFit echoes the values of the Marine Corps,” said Jimi Letchford, the chief marketing officer for CrossFit. “Honor, courage, and commitment,” he said reminiscently. “The people that come into a CrossFit box are not looking to take the easy way out; they recognize that hard work will get you where you’re looking to go.”

The competition had more than eight age brackets who competed on the same course but at different times throughout the five days the CrossFit Games were live. Thousands of fans swarmed to the event to support their favorite athletes as well. 

The Games tested athletes’ strength and endurance during swimming and paddle-boarding to rope climbing and row marathons. They also met a new obstacle this year, the Marine Corps’ “Battleground." The Battleground began with a buddy drag, where contestants dragged a life-sized dummy, then climbed a rope and sprinted 500 meters before attempting a wall climb, followed by low crawls and a rope swing. Athletes then sprinted back to the beginning of the Battleground to repeat the buddy drag and rope climb to finish that portion of the competition.

Also available to the competitors and spectators was the Battles Won Challenge trailer, a Marine Corps-themed, mobile obstacle course that includes several exercises, including pull-ups and a rope climb, but also knowledge tests; all timed to force challengers to make decisions while under pressure. 

The partnership opens doors for the Marines to attend big-ticket events like the CrossFit Games, allowing Marines to engage with diverse high school and collegiate-aged athletes, an exponentially growing influencer network of coaches, parents, and referees from across the nation.

“Our relationship with CrossFit is a partnership,” said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, the director of Marketing and Communication Strategy at MCRC. “Being present at the Games provides the opportunity for our people to interact and learn about shared values, such as our mutual willingness to engage and determination to win—making ourselves, communities, and world better.”

The overall aim of CrossFit is to forge broad, general, and inclusive fitness, supported by measurable, observable and repeatable results. The program prepares trainees for any physical contingency. It’s designed for universal scalability, making it the perfect application for any committed individual, regardless of experience.