CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti --
"Three, Two, One ...GO!"
Those four words are a mantra for Crossfitters the world over, as they anticipate the physical exhaustion and pain that follows shortly after they are said aloud.
This was certainly the case Dec. 14-16 when about 70 Crossfit enthusiasts converged on the camp's Turf Field in the hopes of being crowned "The Fittest on Camp."
Organized and run by 11th Parallel, the Crossfit affiliate on camp, it was the second time the Games have been held here since the affiliate officially opened in May 2012.
Staff Sgt. Jonna Stewart, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Donald Wells, Director of Community Activities for Camp Lemonnier, spearheaded the games and were surprised at how many people showed up.
"It was amazing to see how many people showed up the first night and then they keep turning up the following two nights."
Five events were spread out over the three nights, showcasing Olympic lifts, body weight exercises, kettle bell swings, pull ups, the much revered burpee and more.
Competitors competed "as prescribed," meaning competitors did all the workouts as they were listed, or they could do a scaled down version of the workout. There was an open male and female category and a masters and scaled category.
"It was great, but extremely grueling and it was definitely a mental challenge," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Rolando Brooks, Camp Lemonnier Expeditionary Medical Facility corpsman, and Pacoima, Calif., native.
"You have to be able to find that something inside you to push you to the next level when you don't think you can continue."
After the final heat and the winners were announced, Wells gave an emotional speech, reminiscing about how far the affiliate had come since opening just over 18 months ago.
"You guys blow me away," Wells said. "To see you come out here week after week and bust your butts is worth more than any medal I could give you."
After a group photograph to memorialize the competition, people began walking away many smiling, and more than a few were sore from the exertion they had placed on their bodies over the previous days.
"How would I describe the Games?" said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Luke Carter, platoon commander, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. "They were challenging, and I am certainly going to hurt tomorrow."
Crossfit classes are run Monday-Friday at 5 a.m., 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on the Turf Field.