Battle Cancer London Aims To Kick Cancer to the Dust

October 20, 2019 by
Photo Credit: Instagram / Olly Rosenstock
Enjoying Morning Chalk Up? Access additional exclusive interviews, analyses, and stories with an Rx membership.

Since its inception in 2017, Battle Cancer has raised more than $500,000 for cancer charities worldwide, with six events across the US, Ireland, UK, Germany and Spain in 2019 alone.

They just closed out a Los Angeles box tour earlier this year that raised an estimated $20,000 through takeovers all over the city. But last weekend, Battle Cancer brought the competition back to London and they made it an event to remember.

Almost 1400 athletes and 2,500 spectators converged upon the Olympia London for Battle Cancer London. 

Everyone can participate.

The event itself is participatory, kicking off with a speech from founder Scott Britton and a thank you video featuring Pete Williams parents, who were part of the reason Battle Cancer came about.

Each competitor is also a fundraiser, as each team is asked to raise at least $200 before the competition. The day off, each team battled to the top of the leaderboard through five workouts of the day, with their eye on that cash prize for the top three teams.

It got equally competitive for spectators, as Battle Cancer set aside a special area for anyone wanting to complete 20.2 that day, thanks to partner Wolverson Fitness who built and ran the area. 

Not everything was competitive though, as the workouts have no barbell, rig or gymnastics. The event programming is carefully designed to be inclusive of all ages and abilities, with variations for adaptive athletes, current cancer patients and those in post-care. 

Matt Peterson, who writes the event programming, sends it off to oncologists and specialists for feedback. There’s one standard, but each judge has a list of alternate movements. (Ex: athletes with colostomy bags have an alternate movement if they can’t do burpees).

This way, every athlete is moving at the same time. Patients, newbies, and survivors aren’t isolated or singled out. Everyone is working at their max capacity, simultaneously. 

“If you’re a really great athlete, you’ll bust a gut, but every workout is based on accessibility and hard work, no matter what you can do, so that every athlete is working hard and participating at the same time,” Peterson told the Morning Chalk Up.

Clic Sargent had four teams present at the event, three of those teams were at least partially comprised of survivors. As the leading children’s cancer service in the UK, Clic Sargent serves about 7,000 families across the UK. Edward Stow, a member of the team Black Stags, was there to support November.

“I lost a friend to testicular cancer, and then one to suicide. I like CrossFit and I love the community, and I wanted to put a stake into one thing and I decided on men’s health.” Stow, a CrossFit Level One coach and a MindsetRX ambassador, also directs the Distinguished Gentlemens Ride in Cambridge, fundraising for raise awareness of prostate cancer and suicide, two leading mens issues.

Another team, Team Yard Peckham, contained four women, two of which were there in a show of support for friends currently battling cancer. Max Cotterell-East currently has three friends in their thirties battling cancer while member, Ellie Game, was there for her mother and aunt.

Giving back to help.

Everything that Battle Cancer raised Saturday goes straight back to charities. 

The team is responsible for their own fundraising, then they get to pick a charity to donate to from a list of approved charities. If the team doesn’t designate a charity organization, the funds go to the official charity partner of that event, in this case Cancer Research UK

“We’re proud to be Battle Cancer’s official charity partner for London 2019, your fundraising will support our pioneering life-saving research and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. We have helped double cancer survival rates over the last 40 years, but with more than 1 in 3 people in the UK being diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime and as the only charity researching all 200 types, there is so much more to be done,” Cancer Research UK wrote on the event website.

Cancer Research UK, on top of having a booth set up at the event, also had a team competing, fielded by an employee of Cancer Research UK and three of her friends. 

“This is such a great event, and a great cause, and I love supporting my friends in an event like this,” team member Suzanne Hubble said. “It’s so much fun! I wish the workouts were longer! We’re just getting warmed up when they end,” Hubble laughed.

Other cancer charities like Macmillan Cancer Support, Anthony Nolan trust, and Prostate Cancer UK, were present all day, competing, spectating and sharing their mission. Macmillan has raised 150,000 pounds through all Battle Cancer events so far, which equates to three Macmillian nurses. “In one year, those three nurses will help 200 families,” Becky Bainton, a fundraiser with MacMillion told us. 

Doing important work, worldwide.

Battle Cancer is now held in five countries and they’ve 16 international events planned in 2020. 

One of those tours planned for 2020 is with Invictus CrossFit, kicking off at Invictus’s downtown San Diego location June 20 with a second competition a week later at Invictus Boston, June 27. Battle Cancer and Invictus will use their partnership to raise awareness and funds for cancer charities across the United States to help foster their shared commitment to giving back to the community.

Get the Newsletter

For a daily digest of all things CrossFit. Community, Competitions, Athletes, Tips, Recipes, Deals and more.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.