Sports

Kirkland firefighter finishes second at Crossfit Games

Kirkland firefighter Tom Clark placed second in his age group at the Crossfit Games in Los Angeles.  - contributed
Kirkland firefighter Tom Clark placed second in his age group at the Crossfit Games in Los Angeles.
— image credit: contributed

Kirkland firefighter Tom Clark is in better shape than he was in 2003. He now has a major award to prove it.

Clark, a 23-year member of the fire department, took second place in his age group at the Crossfit Games in Los Angeles.

Clark first found out about Crossfit during a training certification program in 2003 when one of the firefighters sent him a link to the Crossfit website. At first, he was skeptical, until he and another firefighter tried out one of the workouts involving squats, pushups and chin-ups.

“We got halfway through and we’re looking at each other thinking ‘What have we gotten ourselves into?’” he said. “I did more workouts and thought ‘This is the stuff.’”

Doing his own workout and running routine, Clark said he was attracted to the way in which Crossfit made the running enjoyable. It was also an effective way to stay in shape for his job.

“I had thought I was in pretty good condition,” he said. “After the first workout I wasn’t in quite as good of shape as I thought I was in. It was challenging.”

He now trains at the Crossfit gym in Ellensburg, Wash. owned by his son, who opened it two-and-half years ago after Clark had encouraged him to tryout Crossfit.

It wasn’t until 2012 that Clark decided to compete in the Crossfit opening after attending one in 2010 with his wife, Heather. Though he didn’t qualify for the games, he finished in the top 120, and when he came back this year, he moved up an age group to 55-59, and went from one of the oldest to the youngest in his category. For three days, he competed with 18 other men and women.

“We were around each other a lot,” he said. “Every one of these guys was top notch. Being around them, out of the competition, was really comfortable.”

Among the competitions were a deadlift ladder, in which participants performed deadlifts with weights added incrementally, as well as short sprints and box jumping. Clark managed to beat his personal record of 415 to 445 pounds during the deadlift competition.

At the end of the three days, Clark took second place in his category.

“I was surprised and shocked,” he said.

Whether he can take first place next year remains to be seen.

“That’s something I’m hoping for,” he said. “I’ll try. We’ll see what happens.”

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