Few of us fully understand the incredible commitment and work it takes to get to the CrossFit Games. Cathy Wilson does – she’s made it to Madison. We caught up with her to talk about what it means and how she’s preparing.

Cathy was one of the first Masters we interviewed. She’s 45 and trains at CrossFit Leyland. In 2016, she came 49th in the world after the Masters qualifiers. This year she’s going to Madison after finishing in 14th!



Cathy finished the Open in 33rd place before an epic set of Qualifiers saw her climb to 14th!

Congratulations, you made the Games! What does it mean to you?

It’s a dream realised!….Something I’ve aimed for for the last couple of years and especially in the last 12 months all my training has been directed towards trying to get to the Games. Its the pinnacle of a competitive Crossfitters career. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to train, it’s nice that it was all worth it.


Photo credits Ian Robinson

What are you aiming to achieve at the Games?

I want to go and enjoy it! I’ve qualified 14th, so to maintain position or climb would be great. I don’t think a podium finish is achievable…this year…

What would you say it takes to get to the Games as a Master?

The masters divisions are getting more and more competitive. There are many athletes who have been Crossfitting for a good few years now eligible to compete as a master who are awesome. Training multiple times a day, and committing the time to do it (something I’ve found hard to do with the family) is essential. And not having any holes in your training, the open and AGOQ will find them and expose them. I still get caught out with elements I need to improve on.


Photo credits Ian Robinson

Will your training change at all between now and Madison?

Not massively, I already train a couple of sessions a day and the run up to the open/qualifiers where quite intense so its just continuing. Jonathan (my coach) is introducing more unusual elements to my training (so I’m not caught out with anything I’ve not tried at least) for example sled pulls, sandbags, axle bars etc.

Our weekly 40 min emom is started to get stretched to 48 min+, aiming to be 60 at some point! This is all engine work so I’ll be at the best I can be come August. I’m also going to be training in the greenhouse!! Christian owns a plant nursery so there’s space. Just to get used to moving in hotter conditions.

What would be Wod-Heaven and Wod-Hell for you in Madison?

I like couplets and triplets so wod heaven would be heavy squat clean or deadlift with something maybe….I’m not keen on heavy full snatch or running!! They would be wod hell. I’ve been told I’m good at suffering (I don’t like it but I can do it) so workouts that make you suffer I’m also ok with.

Who are you taking to the Games with you?

I’m going with Christian and the kids (Katie, Lewis, Emma and Jamie). Plus Jonathan Wareing (coach) and Paul Simmons (Hench man/friend/mental game guru), and Jon’s girlfriend Yvonne. There are also a few guys from Crossfit Leyland making the trip.


Photo credits Ian Robinson

Any secret weapons?

Only the secret ones……
No – I’m doing my best to cover all areas so nothing catches me out…but it’s Crossfit so you never know. Historically age groups have had a run event but not a swim event, still doing it all just in case!

Anything that’s surprised you about what happens next?

The only thing that caught me out was that I had to pay to enter…but its a comp like any other and you pay for those so I’m not sure why I thought it would be free!

What are you doing to prepare mentally?

I allowed myself to get very stressed over the open and didn’t enjoy it at all. I put things into to place mentally afterwards so I went into the AGOQ more relaxed and I really enjoyed doing them. Still got nervous but positively used them.

I’ve learned a lot from Yoda Paul (aka Mr. Miaggi) who shares his sports psychology knowledge/ jedi mind tricks( from his professional tennis playing days)… He uses different stimuli to put me in the right frame of mind, for example a picture or even smell!! I want to enjoy this experience and go out and compete to the best of my ability.

Who else should we be watching out for in your category?

All the ladies are phenomenal, Cheryl Brost is returning to defend her title..she smashed the open and the qualifiers and has the most experience as a games athlete. There also Kylie Massi and Tonia Osboure with loads of games experience. Julie Ackermann has also been very consistent.

Thanks and best of luck in Madison, Cathy!

Check out the other athletes in the Meet the Masters series

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