Cape Breton man cracks elite CrossFit ranks with berth to regionals event

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Cape Breton man cracks elite CrossFit ranks with berth to regionals event

A Sydney, N.S., athlete is gearing up for a major life goal: competing at the regionals of the 2017 Reebok Crossfit Games.

Steve MacKenzie is competing at the event in Albany, N.Y. in May.

MacKenzie started doing CrossFit — a high-intensity fitness program that includes weight-lifting, gymnastics, jumping and running — five years ago. 

'It's not an easy task'

"After the first year, I was hooked. I wanted to do well, I wanted to compete, I wanted to make it to regionals," MacKenzie said. "It's been a goal for about five years. It's not an easy task."

During regionals competitors times and weights lifted are recorded and then ranked.

After coming 42nd last year, MacKenzie hired a coach to help him break into the coveted top 20 qualifying spots and he finished in the top 15.

In 2016, a total of 324,307 people from 175 countries registered for the CrossFit Games.

'It'll feel real when I get there'

Although his plane tickets are purchased, MacKenzie said he's still absorbing the news.

"It'll feel real when I get there," he said. "I'm very happy, but it hasn't sunk in yet."

Adding to the thrill of the competition is the special bond he shares with his father, Paul MacKenzie, also a CrossFit enthusiast.

Paul has qualified for the CrossFit regionals in the masters division. That means he's in the top 200 of his age group — 55-plus. He'll complete his workouts from Sydney while his son will compete side by side in Albany with the other 40 qualifiers from the east and west divisions.

"I'm rather happy that I got to even just to qualify for the next round, " Paul MacKenzie said, adding his fitness level is "nowhere near" his son's.

Still, participating in the same sport is good competitive fun.

"There's a little bit of chit chat around the dinner table, he comes over and there's a little bit of competition or whatever, but we're in two different groupings," Paul MacKenzie said.

'Just about the experience'

Paul MacKenzie said watching the intense workouts makes him anxious, but he will be in Albany to cheer on his son.

As for Steve MacKenzie he said the competition is "just about the experience...not to finish last and to finish would be an accomplishment."

The top five participants from regionals go on to the World CrossFit Games scheduled for August in Wisconsin.