BAGHDAD - Participants look at their watches as they anxiously wait for the event to kick off. Some are stretching and others are pacing while they think about their plan to make it through three heart-pounding rounds of exercises that will test their body’s strength and conditioning. Each had their own motivation and different goals as they take on the challenge of Fight Gone Bad 6.
Forward Operating Base Union III hosted a non-fundraising Fight Gone Bad 6 competition, Sept. 17, together with other CrossFit communities worldwide that raise funds for three chosen charities.
“Fight Gone Bad is an annual fundraising event hosted by CrossFit gyms and organized by SportsGrants around the world every year,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Ryan Anderson,a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, and an executive officer for Iraqi Training Advisory Mission-Army, United States Forces – Iraq, who organized the FOB Union III event.
“Each year different charities are chosen to be the recipients of the money raised,” said Anderson. “This year the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, CrossFit Kids, and Camp Patriot are the benefactors.”
“I was going to raise money and do the workout on Sept. 17, but I decided with a little more effort, I could organize it and turn it into a good event for other people too,” he added.
The grueling five-station fitness event tested the physical and mental strength of 17 service members and civilians who participated. The stations consisted of the ball toss, sumo dead lift high-pull, box jump, push press and the rower. The participants perform each exercise for one-minute, and on the call of ‘rotate’ they transfer to the next station.
After completion of the fifth station, a round is complete. Each group receives a one-minute rest period before they proceed to their next round and continue until they have completed all three rounds of exercises. One point is given for each repetition, except on the rower, where each calorie burned is counted as one point.
The event brought a variety people ranging from inexperienced in CrossFitters, to hardened athletes who use CrossFit in their daily workout routine.
“This is my first Fight Gone Bad and I did not train for this event, but I will definitely have to if I want to participate in another one,” said Spc. Kelly Zawacki, a native of Port Charlotte, Fla., and a joint-strength manager with Company C, Headquarters Headquarters Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps, USF-I. “I will have to increase the length of time spent on each exercise and minimize rest times in between the different exercises.”
Some participants, like Anderson, train with CrossFit on a daily basis as part of their workout routine.
“This is my first official Fight Gone Bad, but I have done the exercise routine several times as a workout,” said Anderson.
“I have been doing CrossFit on-and-off for about two years now, but I became very serious about it once I deployed to Iraq,” he said. “My normal daily workout includes the CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day) and I include traditional running workouts a few times a week.”
Anderson also said that this event is more than just a workout for him; he participated for a special reason.
“I believe in the great work that the charities do,” he said. “The SOWF provides scholarships to the children of special operation forces who are killed in action.”
“I had two classmates and friends who were killed in Iraq in 2005, and one of them had a son who will benefit from the SOWF,” said Anderson.
Anderson added that the SOWF will provide scholarships to the 32 children that lost their fathers during a Chinook crash in Afghanistan Aug. 6.
The purpose of this event brings a special meaning to the service members. Camaraderie also brought out the best in everybody, especially U.S. Army 1st Lt. Kevin Kumlien, a native of Bozeman, Mont., and an adviser with Iraq Training and Advisory Mission – Army, USF-I.
During the final leg of the event one participant was slotted to go alone. Event coordinators asked the spectators for anyone who wanted to join the last participant.
Kumlien volunteered to be the partner for the last person and showed his competitiveness and support for the event.
“There was a person going by himself and he needed a partner,” he said. “I just saw everyone else working pretty hard and it motivated me so I gave it a shot.”
Kumlien never expected to join the competition, he attending the event for a masters course he’s taking while deployed.
“To get my masters degree in sports management, I needed to do some interviews in a sporting event for my sports management class,” he said. "This was the only sporting event I can find here.”
Dressed in Army Combat Uniform, the former track and field athlete from West Point tried his fate without ever doing CrossFit using his track and field conditioning to his advantage.
“A lot of the exercises fit nicely for me,” said Kumlien. “I used to throw the javelin at West Point, and doing exercises like the sumo dead lift gives you the pull you need for a snatch when you throw the javelin and we did box jumps all the time for our track and field workouts.”
Kumlien showed his competitiveness as he took top honors for the Men’s Division, and Cara Birritteri, a customer service officer with the International Zone Help Desk, USF-I, won the women’s division.
In the end, Fight Gone Bad 6 made every participant a winner as the event raised more than $2.1 million worldwide to benefit the charities for this year’s event.
This work, Fight Gone Bad 6 brings challenges for a good cause, by SSG Edward Daileg, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.