Colorado Gym Owners Go the Extra 26.2 Miles Amidst a Global Pandemic
When Erica Erickson walked through the doors of Widespread CrossFit in Broomfield, CO two years ago, she was out of shape, suffering from poor sleep, and her stress level was “out of control,” she said.
Understandable, considering the now 43-year-old had been raising two sets of twins and working a full-time job.
Though apprehensive about starting CrossFit, something about the way gym owner Matt Kirkendall spoke to her on her first day made her feel comfortable.
- “Right away, I was like, ‘Let’s do this,” Erickson said.
She knew that Matt and his wife Kari Kirkendall were the ticket to changing her life, she added.
Two years later, this has proven true: Through their guidance, Erickson has regained her health and happiness and has discovered a newfound confidence in herself, which led her to believe she could run a marathon, something that had been on her bucket list for 10 years.
- “They helped me find myself again,” she said.
At the end of last year, Erickson sat down with Matt to put together a training plan to prepare her to run her first marathon. She selected a local marathon that was set to run on Sunday, June 7.
No surprise, like most other public events these days, her marathon was eventually canceled because of COVID-19.
- “When I found out it was canceled, I posted something on social media about how sad I was,” Erickson said.
Two hours later, Kari sent her a message.
- “I have an idea. I want to put on this race for you. You have been training so hard and we don’t want to see all the hard work you have put in go by the wayside,” Erickson said of what Kari told her.
- “I started crying. I couldn’t believe they were going to do this for me. I mean, I always knew how much they cared, but this really showed me how much they go above and beyond, and especially now with all that’s going on in the world with the pandemic and their gym being closed,” she added.
Race day: This Sunday, in lieu of the official race, Erickson will start and finish her out-and-back marathon at Widespread CrossFit. Matt and Kari and other coaches will position themselves at various aid stations along the way to provide her with hydration and support. Friends and family, including her husband and her 9 and 4-year-old identical twins, will also be there to cheer her on. Just like a real race.
Erickson admits she’s a little nervous.
- “Normally in a race, there would be 500 other people and nobody would know who I am. But it’s just going to be me out there, and my son who said he’s going to bike next to me. So yeah, I am nervous, but Matt has been so great encouraging me and reminding me that I have put in the hard work, and now it’s time to execute,” she said.
Her goal: “Um, just to finish the race and not die,” she said with a laugh, adding that her real goal is to finish in four-and-a-half hours.
- “To be honest, though, this race isn’t really even about finishing the marathon anymore. This race is about the belief Matt and Kari have instilled in me, and in all their athletes. From the moment they talk to someone about joining, they believe in you, no matter your age or fitness ability,” she said.
- She added: “If you have a dream or a goal, they’re not going to let you give up on it. They’re going to stand by your side every step of the way and guide you, and be your biggest cheerleader. So that’s what this is about for me. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words how much this means to me.”