Barbells Behind Bars: First Ever Prison CrossFit Competition

January 1, 2020 by
Photo courtesy of Tristan Ringering
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On Saturday, December 14, a CrossFit competition took place in Limon, CO that was unlike any of its kind. Sure, the WODs looked just as awful as any, there were prizes for podium finishers, everyone got a t-shirt, and there were divisions for different groups of competitors. And that’s where this competition varied from most others. One of those divisions was “Men Competitors: From Inside Limon.” That’s because this was the Inaugural 2019 Redemption Road Invitational at Limon Correctional Facility.

Morning Chalk Up filled you in on Redemption Road CrossFit earlier this year. In April of 2018, the first CrossFit L1 course was taught inside a prison at Limon Correctional. And this year, Limon was the first ever to host a CrossFit competition inside a prison.

The Inaugural 2019 Redemption Road Invitational at Limon Correctional Facility was,  “Another first in the world! The first CrossFit competition inside a prison with 25 ‘outsiders’ and 5 Correctional Officers teamed up with 30 ‘insiders’ from the Redemption Road CrossFit program inside Limon prison.”

Photo courtesy of Tristan Ringering

On top of that, the competition was a fundraiser to equip the staff gym inside the prison. The entire event was put on by the Redemption Road CrossFit coaches. They programmed all the workouts, designed the competition shirts, and printed them inside the prison themselves. The “insiders” were allowed to wear competition shirts during the event. For some, this was the first time they had worn anything aside from prison garb in thirty years.

And all the funds raised will go toward building a gym that, as inmates, they would not otherwise be able to enter.

Denver Police Sgt. Aaron Brill, who manages Redemption Road and is the President and CEO of Redemption Road Fitness Foundation, told Morning Chalk Up, “Our RRCF Coaches program [has] about 35 Correctional Officers and staff…but they don’t have much of a gym.” So the inmates and staff came up with the idea of a fundraiser competition and the Redemption Road Invitational was born.

Photo courtesy of Tristan Ringering

The updated staff gym will cost about $13,000 total. Brill was hoping to raise $4,000 over the weekend to get it started. They wound up filling every spot, volunteer, competitor, and “insider” and together raised $5500; sponsors like Star Spine and Sport, ABC Hammers, Ascent Protein, CrossFit MOB, CrossFit Bladium and Colorado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Stapleton provided prizes to the winners.

Brill, who’s mission for Redemption Road is to help “insiders” understand that they hold value and can still contribute to a community, called the event a wild success. “As far as I know there has never been a CrossFit comp inside a prison with offenders paired up with Officers and Community members. This was the idea of the inmates to raise funds for the staff gym, [and it] says a lot about the heart and mindset of our program participants!”

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