50 Before 60: Avid CrossFitter Tries to Hit Affiliates in All 50 States by His 60th Birthday
A milestone birthday doesn’t come often and when it does, many of us choose to celebrate with a big party or maybe a trip somewhere fun. But for Liam Killeen, who turned 60 this month, hitting a CrossFit gym in all 50 states was his big milestone wish.
Killeen turned to CrossFit roughly ten years ago after looking for an alternative to distance running. He found a love for the sport and while he started later in life, the commitment to getting better and making improvements on his skills doesn’t waiver.
- “The thing that is endlessly fascinating for me with CrossFit is that aspect of it that you have a community of people, just the inherent competitiveness of it, and you just move at a different pace when you’re Crossfitting than you would in a self directed workout,” said Killeen.
- “I’m turning 60 and there are still skills that I intend to develop that I don’t have. I do not have a muscle up and intend to have one. You know, things like that 10 years and I’m still focused.”
- “I’m around people every day that I target and they target me and it’s just fun to have that camaraderie and common purpose for sure. And so that’s, as I say, endlessly fascinating.”
The idea to hit a gym in all 50 states started roughly eight years ago, according to Killeen. He had already dropped in at affiliates in a few states and thought to himself, why not keep going? Killeen adds, he attends CrossFit classes five times a week and it has become a daily part of his life.
This type of physical challenge isn’t new for Killeen, who said for his 50th birthday he wrangled a group of friends to mountain bike from Durango, Colorado to Moab, Utah single tracking through the Rockies “which wasn’t the smartest thing any of us had ever done, but just an incredible experience.”
Killeen also shares this experience actually dates back to his goal of visiting all the states since he arrived from Ireland in 1989. Obviously family and work and life got in the way and he put the goal on the back burner until now.
- “I think I was a handful of states into this already when I just thought ‘oh, it would be cool’
- “If you consider CrossFit to be about constant change and challenge then if you want to see that, do what I’m doing and start dropping into gyms around the country because every gym has a completely different culture and approach.”
- “It’s just a lot of fun to drop into a place. I mean, everything can be different. What stays the same, of course, is that the community is universally welcoming.”
Killeen said he started 2023 with about 15 states to complete and just ended in Anchorage, Alaska. Luckily, his work requires travel, so with some extra coordination he’s been able to work in different affiliates throughout his travels.
Killeen was able to bring along his son Nick on the quest for the final affiliate. Nick says his dad is the reason he started CrossFit in the first place and is a constant inspiration to him and to those around him.
“When he sets a goal, I never doubt that my dad is going to see it through. It’s been so inspiring to see his relentless pursuit of this one, which seemed so crazy at first and now is nearly complete,” said Nick, who’s been doing CrossFit himself for 8 years.
Upon completion of this challenge, Killeen is already onto his next adventure, which is a bike ride across America. Even so, he says it won’t replace CrossFit.
“I’m sure there’s a shelf life on CrossFit, but I don’t think it’s 60,” he said.