• Helen Harding

Masters Division Highlights from Wodapalooza

Masters athletes soaked up the atmosphere at Miami competing in one of the worlds largest fitness festivals. The workouts were tough, the competition world class, and the experience was second to none.

Wodapalooza has hosted one of the most popular masters competitions over the last few years and 2020 was no exception. Athletes flocked from all over the globe to compete and the field included previous CrossFit Games champions, multiple times CrossFit Games competitors, and  a host of other athletes all looking to make their mark. CrossFit legend Valerie Vobril also made her first appearance as a masters athlete at a major competition in the 40-44 age group.

Taking place in Miami, Wodapalooza ran between February 20 and 23. One of the world’s largest fitness festivals, the Sanctional hosts six Masters divisions, starting at 35 and running up to a 60+ category. Unlike the Elite Individuals, Wodapalooza is not a direct qualification route to the CrossFit Games for Masters. Nonetheless, it’s a unique chance to test skills and see how Masters fare up against each other.

Social media is full of glowing reviews, heartfelt  filled messages of happiness and friendships, appreciation posts and evidence of real hard work! Masters athletes from ages 35 to 60+ competed in seven workouts over three days.over three days challenging themselves with seven workouts. The workouts were the same (some modified slightly depending on the age group) as the workouts completed by the elite field.

Some of the Competition Highlights:

  • Watching three of the 2019 CrossFit Games Champions competing and dominating - Jason Grubb, Joel Huges, and Kevin Koester. Joel and Kevin won their age divisions (45-49, and 50-55 respectively), and Jason Grubb paced 2nd in the 40-44 age group.

  • Valerie Vobril won four of the five events on day two and three in the 40-44 age group. Valerie had a slow start placing 8th in both of the first two workouts but then performed incredibly on day two and three finishing in 2nd place overall in her age group behind Lori Barth.

  • Cal Cherrington placed first in five of the seven events in the 60+ men’s category, putting him on top of the podium.

  • Jenn Osborne (35-39 age group) in event 1 “Pace Race” rowed an extraordinary distance. The workout was 12 minutes of rowing against the pace boat, which increased in pace as the 12 minutes progressed. If the pace boat caught you your row ended and the metres were recorded. Open athletes did the same workout and Jenn’s distance of 3,250 would have placed her 5th place amongst all the elite athletes in open age beating Sara Sigmundsdottir, Brooke Wells and Tia Toomey!

  • The impressive come back from the 35-39 winner Ryan Elrod. Ryan paced 22nd in event 1 and then managed to place 1st and 2nd, with one 5th place in the rest of the events putting him in the top spot overall by the end of the competition

  • The dominating performances of Tony Kurz (40-44) and Kim Purdy (45-49). Both won their age groups by 100 points or more. Tony Kurz also won his masters division at Strength in Depth in January making a good start to 2020.

  • Watching masters athletes dive in and swim as part of “Shark Bait”. This was a workout where the 300 metre swim was combined with pistols and dead ball over shoulder. All age groups had to perform the 300 metre swim and for some masters athletes the swim presented a real challenge. It’s a good reason for always having a regular swim in your training even as a masters athlete!

  • Masters athletes on social media have repeatedly described the incredible camaraderie, the building of new friendships, and the amazing support from fellow competitors. It seems this is one of the best things about competing as a masters athlete.


35-39 – Rachel Green | Michelle Palmer | Hilary Niewald Gerrish

40-44 – Lori Barth | Val Voboril | Sara Blunck

45-49 – Kim Purdy | Jen Dieter | Stephanie China

50-54 – Zoe Stewart | Laurie Granata | Cara Yost

55-59 – Linda Elsun | Cherise Walmsley | Diane Stuart

60+ – Patricia Mcgill | Theresa Demich | Victoria Mcdonald


35-39 – Ryan Elrod | Garrett Corley | Nick Aranda

40-44 – Tony Kurz | Jason Grubb | Brian Kunitzer

45-49 – Joel Hughes | Cory Dague | Jeb Simmons

50-54 – Kevin Koester | David Asier Madina De Salustiano | Gregg Geerdes

55-59 – Stuart Swanson | Wally Schreiber | Eric Cohen

60+ – Cal Cherrington | Tim Vivian | Kurt Reid