What Fraser and Medeiros Discussed During the Long Run Back
“By that point, running wasn’t much of an option.”
That’s how Mathew Fraser, four-time CrossFit Games champion, described the second lap of day one’s final event, the Ranch Loop.
Remind me: The Ranch Loop, totaling six miles long, was the second-longest running event in Games history. Athletes gained over 2,000 meters on the course, with the average slope between 13-14 degrees. Fraser won the event, completing the course in just under an hour.
The Twist: Fraser, with rookie Justin Medeiros close behind him, crossed what he thought was the finish line of the trail run in first place. That’s when Dave Castro told him to turn around and go back — the finish line was three miles behind him — and viewers were treated to the now-famous image of Fraser flipping Castro off.
- “I thought it was a joke,” said Fraser. “I was the first one to come in, and he [Castro] said it so casually. As soon as I crossed the finish line he was like, ‘alright, now run it back.’”
- “He looked at me and said, ‘You’re going to start losing if you don’t go!’ Fraser continued. “I went, ‘Oh you’re serious.’ So then I just pick up and start going.”
One big thing: When Castro tested the Ranch Loop, none of the first-place demo finishers on lap one were able to win the event. Fraser did. Medeiros, who took second place, and Fraser then ran the majority of the second half together.
- “I mean, once we found out we were going to be next to each other for the next 30 minutes or so, we were kind of just chatting,” Fraser said. “Like, ‘Hey, your legs tired?’ ‘Yep, mine too.’ ‘Cool.’”
- “With that surprise lap two,” says Medeiros, “It was definitely a mental grind and also a physical grind, and being able to stick with him for a large part of that second lap was really easy mentally, because I was like, ‘If he’s good at this pace, then I should be good at this pace.”
- “I think we were, probably, two-thirds through when Justin was like, ‘Hey, man, if we get to the finish line and we’re still next to each other, I’m not gonna be chatting anymore. We’re gonna be sprinting,’” said Fraser. “I was like alright, cool, time to race.”