Life in the top 5: Granby CrossFit athlete looks to compete in annual games | SkyHiNews.com

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Life in the top 5: Granby CrossFit athlete looks to compete in annual games

Cal Cherrington, 60, who owns Standfirm CrossFit Gym in Granby, works on his form with the clean and jerk lift Wednesday afternoon. Notably absent is the medical boot he wears for a torn Achilles tendon, further demonstrating his advanced fitness level and tolerance for pain. Cherrington is currently ranked in the Top 5 in the world for his age division of 60 and over and hopes to compete in the annual CrossFit Games later this summer.

For the last decade a popular fitness regimen known as CrossFit has swept the nation with seemingly exponential growth.

Most Grand County residents will be at least vaguely familiar with CrossFit as Middle Park is the home of multiple CrossFit gyms. What the uninitiated may not be familiar with, however, is the annual global competition CrossFit gyms across the world compete in.

The CrossFit Games, which kicked off in 2007, pit top athletes from franchise gyms all over the world against each other in a week-long fitness and endurance contest to determine what CrossFit bills as "Fittest on Earth."

Granby's Standfirm CrossFit Gym and its owner, Cal Cherrington, are hungry for the title.

Cherrington, a remarkably fit 60-year-old seeks to compete in the games. He is currently ranked No. 5 in the world amongst CrossFit athletes in his age division of 60 and over. He is currently waiting to hear final confirmation that he has secured a spot at this summer's CrossFit Games, which will be held the first week of August in Madison, Wis.

Invitations to those who qualified for the contest are expected to go out starting May 11, according to Cherrington said. Though he is not yet certain he will qualify for the games, he was extremely optimistic and said he hoped to receive his invitation relatively soon.

"(The CrossFit games) have become a pretty big deal," Cherrington said, as he added that roughly 400,000 people around the world attempt to reach the final stage of the CrossFit Games.

The process is an arduous one and is broken down into three stages — the elimination process begins with the CrossFit Open, continues on to regionals and culminates in the Games.

At each stage of the competition the athletes are whittled down until an elite cadre of 40 male and female competitors, in each age division, vies for the top honors. The Games are divided into an open division, for those under 35, in addition to a masters and teen division. The latter two divisions are further broken down into multiple age cohorts.

"I'm in a unique position (since) I am in an age group that makes this possible," Cherrington said. "I aged up this year and entered the over 60 division.

"This is my year," he exclaimed.

Cherrington has competed to reach the games in previous years and achieved remarkably high ranking, but always fell just short of the qualifying mark. Over the last few years he has typically been ranked within the Top 100 for the 55 to 59 age division, climbing as high as 35th, but was never quite able to qualify for the Games.

To prepare for the CrossFit Games, Cherrington has been pushing himself hard. His fitness level is made all the more amazing after he admits he is struggling to overcome what he called a "little" tear in his Achilles tendon.

"I keep trying to get the darn thing to heal," he said nonchalantly. Still, he wears a medical boot to assist with its healing.

Cherrington works out everyday to keep himself in top form for the contest and is putting an emphasis on his strength training and weight-lifting routines, which he acknowledged are his challenge areas.

His biggest strength: he has a "good motor," as he explained its hard to make him want to quit and he can tolerate pain.

To watch a man with six-decades under his belt lift weights of over 100 pounds above his head multiple times, seemingly with ease, is quite impressive and clearly demonstrates the immense fitness required to compete at the elite level of Cherrington and his fellow top tier athletes.

"I'm just going to continue working out everyday with my people at the gym," Cherrington said. "Everyday we do something different. That is what makes it so much fun."