World Athletes Show Up for the Hope in the Desert Charity Workout

December 4, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Provided by Athletes’ Table
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The Hope in the Desert challenge is underway, and everyday athletes around the world have been throwing down in this free partner competition December 2-4 in support of something much bigger than themselves.

Remind me: Created by the non-profit organization Athletes’ Table, Hope in the Desert is an online workout that aims to help bring awareness to women’s need for safe access to sports in the Palestinian city of Jericho. For more on the organization and how to support, check out our partnership announcement with the event.

After seeing the article in Morning Chalk Up, Stefanie Hitchborn, co-owner of AO1 Fitness, decided she would program the workout for her clients and told us, “I loved the idea immediately, as finding ways to give young girls equal access to sport is life changing.”

So, Saturday morning at Peninsula CrossFit in Sidney, BC, her whole crew got after the grueling chipper. And, just over 7,000 miles away in the United Arab Emirates, so did competition host Bella Martin. Despite being on a work trip to emcee the Dubai CrossFit Championship, she still made getting the special workout done a priority in light of the purpose behind it. 

“I cannot imagine where I would be as a woman without fitness. It has helped me grow so much as a human. Being able to go to the gym and do fitness is part of how I manage my mental health, stress, and most things in my life that require some thought,” Martin said. “It’s important to me that everyone, even women, have a safe place to do fitness because it’s greater than that.”

And, keeping aligned with the “infinitely scalable” component of the sport, she modified the movements based on what she needed that day. 

“Personally, I knew that after sitting for 16 hours on a plane, doing kettlebell swings would agitate my back. Therefore, I chose another element that would provide a similar stimulus,” she said. “Long workouts like this are always mentally challenging but when it’s for a bigger cause other than general fitness, the mental part of it becomes heart and I try to remember the why of it all when I’m struggling physically.” 

Get involved: If you haven’t already done the workout, there’s still time! You can read the details, sign-up for free and claim your spot on the leaderboard here. Donations are encouraged to support the cause, or snag a t-shirt and rep it at your box. And whatever you do, don’t forget to not take the ability to workout somewhere that’s safe, clean and accessible for granted — because not all people have that opportunity. 

“Sport is an amazing teacher of character qualities and mindset principles for life…it’s a great medium for building community and gaining confidence,” Hitchborn said. “I hope every girl can have access. Awesome job Athletes’ Table!”.

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