West Van's Susan Clarke claims third Crossfit Games masters title

There’s no denying it now – West Vancouver’s Susan Clarke is the fittest 55-59-year-old female on the planet.

Earlier this month Clarke won that age group at the Crossfit Games held in Madison, Wis., taking the 55-59 title for the third time in three tries at the Games. Clarke also won the category in 2014 and 2015, coming back to take the 2017 title after not competing in 2016.

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The Crossfit Games is a global competition that allows athletes from across the world to participate in the same workouts, typically emphasizing aerobics, weightlifting and gymnastics movements with other surprises sometimes thrown in like obstacle courses, swimming or handstand walking. Scores are submitted online with top performers invited to compete in regional qualifiers that eventually lead to the annual Crossfit Games finals.

At the finals Clarke won two of the six events in her age category while finishing second in two others. The competition is not really about beating others, more about facing off against yourself, Clarke told the North Shore News.

“Every athlete really just wants to feel like they have performed their best,” she said. “If their best translates into a win then that’s an extra bonus.”

The new wrinkle in this year’s Games was an event that got the competitors to do a 500-m swim sandwiched between two 1.5-mile runs.

“I think this was my favorite event simply because I really had to go out of my comfort zone and train an area (swim) I hadn’t done in the past,” said Clarke.

“The run-swim-run was also the hardest event because of the level of anxiety that went with never having done a workout like this before.”

Clarke said she was more focused on getting to know the other athletes in her group than she was on topping their scores.  

“Our age group behaved more like a team rather than competitors, celebrating every one’s successes as the week went on,” she said. “The community of Crossfit is like no other sport I have ever been involved in. Mostly I think I’m incredibly grateful to be healthy and continue to participate in a sport I really truly love to do.” 

The North Shore’s Scott Tasaka also made the finals, finishing eighth in the men’s 45-49 age group.

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