After a handstand walk and pedaling on a stationary bike, Snoqualmie’s James Sprague was struggling to carry the 200-pound sandbag 90 feet across the finish line. The cheers from his friends gave him the energy he needed to finish.
“That was the most pain I’ve ever been in,” Sprague said.
Despite finishing second-to-last in this event, his worst of the competition, Sprague said it was his favorite memory from competing at the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin on Aug. 2-4.
Sprague, a senior at Mount Si High, finished fifth in the boys teenagers division at the games.
The event brought together the best CrossFit athletes from around the world to find the fittest people on Earth. Sprague said CrossFit is a series of workouts testing your strength, agility, cardio and endurance by focusing on constantly varied movement.
“It’s a lot of pushing yourself to the limit,” Sprague said.
To be one of the 10 boys teenage athletes invited to the competition, Sprague began testing in February to qualify.
The competition consisted of eight events spread out over the three days with athletes from around the world. Athletes were awarded points based on how well they did in each event, with the winner being the individual who had the highest combined score at the end.
Sprague was able to bond with the other athletes over their passion for CrossFit.
“You become best friends with the nine other guys,” Sprague said.
Along with bonding, Sprague and the other athletes pushed and supported one another through the pain and discomfort they experienced during the workouts.
Throughout the competition, Sprague’s legs were causing him problems. He said all the competitors are fighting through pain and discomfort. Sprague said a big part of the competition is how well you can recover.
Sprague’s best event was the 6k ruck, which he finished first. It was a 3.7-mile run while carrying a weighted backpack. After each lap, more weight is added on to the pack until it weighs 50 pounds.
Leading up to the competition, Sprague put lots of time and effort into his training. Sprague said he would spend 6-7 hours per day in the gym over the summer instead of spending time with friends.
“You can’t do it halfway,” Sprague said. “I made a lot of sacrifices.”
Sprague began doing CrossFit three years ago to get into shape and lose weight. He was inspired by his father who also did CrossFit.
“I was exhausted,” Sprague said. “I took a week off from work and I’m still recovering.”
Sprague plans on continuing to train, with his sights set on qualifying for the men’s division at the CrossFit competition in the future.
“I plan to do CrossFit until I’m 60 years old,” Sprague said. “I want to do it for the rest of my life.”