Sub 5 Mile, 500lb Back Squat. Klink Conquers Castro Challenge

July 13, 2020 by
PhotoCredit: Adam Klink (
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In the lead-up to the 2017 CrossFit Games, Dave Castro had a discussion with Scott Panchik about a possible test of fitness for CrossFit athletes. Chronicled in his book, Constructing The CrossFit Games, Castro discussed how difficult it would be for an athlete to run a mile under 5:00 minutes and back squat 500 lbs in one day. It was a feat that became part of CrossFit lore and he felt was elusive for Games athletes, even Rich Froning.

Three years later, Adam Klink wanted a challenge, something he could work towards as the CrossFit season came to a close during the COVID-19 pandemic. He decided to take on Castro’s challenge, he conquered it on Sunday becoming the first recorded athlete to do so.

The challenge: Castro wrote “the elusive combination of the 500-lb. back squat and sub-5-minute mile” was perhaps something he could test athletes on in the near future. He also stated that adding 50 unbroken pull-ups would assure that a CrossFit athlete would be the one that sets the record. Enter Klink.

The chase: Klink is not your average CrossFit athlete, a six-time Regional athlete and head coach at CrossFit Krypton, the affiliate owned by 2015 “Fittest Man on Earth” Ben Smith. Klink just missed out on his Game’s invitation at the 2018 Atlantic Regional, finishing seventh. In this year’s Open, he had his best finish at 149th worldwide.

  • Klink started training for the challenge ten weeks ago, already owning a back squat of 550 lbs, it was the mile run that the 215 lb man would have to work on.
  • “With my background in playing soccer and the amount of lifting I have done, I felt like there were two areas and two movements that I have been gifted with. It had always been in the back of my head that if anyone would be able to do this, it would be me,” Klink said.
  • What followed were countless running sessions at a number of tracks in the Chesapeake, VA area followed by back squats on tired legs afterward.
  • The training led to a case of plantar fasciitis that sidelined him for a while, but he was able to recover and continue to train towards that goal.

The payoff: After coming close on June 29 when he ran the mile in 5:12 and followed it with a 500 lb squat. He stated after that he would take four or five weeks to recover and train before attempting the feat again. Instead, he woke up on Sunday feeling good and decided it was the day to set the record.

  • Using pacers, Klink kept a scorching pace of just under 1:15 for each of the first three 400 meter laps. In the final lap, he emptied his tank and finished his mile in 4:56.46.
  • He then went to CrossFit Krypton where he had little problem with the 500 lb back squat.
  • He then completed the challenge with 50 pull-ups unbroken to set the record.
  • “I like to talk about goal-setting,” said Klink on June 29. “This is a goal I set for myself a while ago that I wanted to hit. This isn’t to prove anything to anybody.”
  • “I want to encourage other people to set goals and get after them,” he continued. “We are in a time right now where people need that motivation and need to learn how to set goals for themselves and work hard for something. To be able to check that off their list when it’s accomplished.”

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