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Waiting For A Wildcard: Newbury To Make Competition Comeback

Jan 3, 2020 by

Australian James Newbury admits his season so far is “very different from any other” but the 5th Fittest Man on Earth is determined to make it back to Madison.

“The season is long and there is still plenty of fitness and tickets to be gained,” he told the Morning Chalk Up.

James Newbury wasn’t able to complete the Open when he fractured his back and since it’s also the qualifier for 13 upcoming sanctioned events this season, he’s missed out on those spots as well.

“I would be keen on the Aussie events if I was able to score a wildcard potentially,” James said.

The four-time Games athlete has revealed he also plans to compete at Rogue and perhaps one or two other events, in the hope of punching a return ticket to Madison.

Wait, wasn’t this guy just in the hospital?: Yep, Newbury made a somewhat explosive exit from the 2020 CrossFit Open, landing himself in a hospital bed just days after he performed 20.3 during a live announcement down under.

A mountain bike accident left Newbury with a long list of injuries including several fractured vertebrae, fractured ribs and a punctured lung.

Road to Recovery: James has revealed just four days after the accident he was “back on the bike” so to speak and within five weeks–safe to say he’d defied medical expectations–completing an entire Ironman race (in 10hrs and 42 minutes to be exact!)

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10 hours, 14 minutes and 42 seconds later I finished my first Ironman. It was tough, yet at NO point was I thinking “why am I doing this?” I thoroughly enjoyed the deep cave for the full marathon. I would 100% attribute this to the amazing company of the “Suicide Squad” who stepped up to the plate without doubt! Knowing these guys and gals (@savetyrrell_ @scottgalletly_ @gilesboland @simonejanearthur @linusarmstrong @leeruzzi @aatroyer @staza25 @stantagram @benjanssen ) (and @kaylabanfield who unfortunately couldn’t compete due to illness) and the amazing support crew were there slogging it out on different parts of the course allowed me to endure the race without question. The funny thing is that after we finished our 70.3 about 6 months ago we were all so shattered and that night I sent a message and said “crew let’s do a full!” and everyone opted in immediately. Mind you, most of the team hadn’t completed a triathlon up until 6 months ago and some couldn’t even swim 200m 3 months ago, yet their will to endure for the experience with their mates was enough to get them fired up to finish what they started. I need a special mention here to @savetyrrell_ who I think is considered by the crew as MVP for the weekend. This dude originally was coming for the half Ironman, missed the cut off and had to do the full. He found out 2 weeks prior to race day, barely trained as he works away and managed to grit it out in 12:43! Another guy who put a jig in my shuffle was @mattywhitetraining . Everytime I came past he was on his bike riding alongside me firing me up to press on and I loved it! About 5 weeks ago I was very unsure if I was going to be able to take the start line after mountain bike accident fracturing T2, T3 spinal processes, 7th and 8th rib and puncturing a lung. I used every natural healing tool in my arsenal to repair myself enough to get back on the bike. I was certain I would take the floor after about 15 days post accident. I slept, sought sunlight, got in the ocean, stretched with @romwod , sauna, moved as much as I could and breathed my way to recovery. CONTINUED BELOW

A post shared by James Newbury • Adelaide (@jamesnewbury) on

“My sport of choice is CrossFit but I’ve always really enjoyed just having a crack at everything,” James told videographer Wyks Etsebeth, who documented James’ comeback and the entire Ironman race (yes, the final leg is a full marathon!) in early December.

“If there’s an experience that I feel like is challenging–mentally and physically–I want to do it,” he added.

How he did it: “Working on working it” was how James’ described it.

“I definitely believe that given the right ingredients the body can do miraculous things,” he told the Morning Chalk Up.

James believes the secret is being “proactive in creating an optimal healing environment” which for him included lots of sleep, sun, earth and quality food.

“I also saunaed a lot and soaked in the float,” he said.

In the mini-documentary, James’ partner, Kayla Banfield also describes how he opted not to take any pain medication.

She described the day of James’ accident as “one of the worst 24 hours” of her life, but added she’s been inspired but hardly surprised by his comeback.

“He doesn’t like sitting on the sidelines, he doesn’t like playing it safe, he likes to push himself,” Kayla said.

What training looks like now: I was super sore immediately after the ironman but the next day surprisingly I felt fine,” James said. For the record a full Ironman is a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run.

His first CrossFit session back after the injury-induced break was a different story: “I was much sorer after coming back and doing my first class at Soul,” he laughed.

Now James’ training is mainly CrossFit-based, and approximately 8-10 sessions a week: “That will ramp up now that I have blown out the cobwebs… I’ll ride a criterium race for fun or register for Sprint Triathlons and local ocean swims wherever possible.”



James Newbury



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