A pair of Brandonites are heading to Vancouver next week for one of the biggest CrossFit challenges of their lives.
Zack McMillan and John Gillis, both 27, will compete in the CrossFit Games regionals for Canada West from May 9-12. The pair train together at CrossFit Rocked, which is owned and operated by McMillan, and they can’t wait to be teammates and competitors at regionals.
"Of course we’re going against each other, but it’s kind of a cool sport that way where you’re doing your own thing with your workouts, but how you perform has no relation to how someone else performs," McMillan said. "That’s why you have a positive atmosphere no matter who you’re competing against.
"We’re just trying to make sure we both have our best workouts, our best days when we’re out there. Then we wait and see what happens at the end of the day. The first competition we did together I beat him. Obviously he was a good sport about it and the last one we did together in Winnipeg he was first and I was second. We’re used to being in the same competitions against each other, but it’s more of a supporting role than going head-to-head."
CrossFit regionals puts competitors through challenging workouts, including events like distance handstand walk or three rounds of 50 one-legged squats, seven muscle-ups and 10 hang power cleans, or handstand pushups, front squats and burpees, an event McMillan is looking forward to most.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound McMillan placed second in an open event in Winnipeg in February, and was ranked 54th in the Canada West region. Gillis, a 5-foot-5, 155-pound Brandonite, placed first in Winnipeg and was ranked 15th in the region.
McMillan, however, has more experience at regionals as he was there last year, while Gillis elected not to compete. McMillan placed 18th then and hopes for another top 20 finish, although he knows it will be difficult.
"This year I think it’s going to be more competitive," he said. "There’s more and more athletes coming into CrossFit every year, so it will definitely be more competitive of a regional. My goal is the same. Work hard and see if I can crack the top 20 and have a lot of fun, because that’s basically the main reason I’m going."