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Affiliate of the Month, 26.2 CrossFit, Helps Athletes Conquer Marathons

Morning Chalk Up

November 2   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Kym Dekeyrel, Adaptive Division CrossFit Games veteran and champ, uses National Blind Awareness Month to educate the community
  • StreamFit works to help gym owners increase revenue
  • 26.2 CrossFit champions the unlikely pairing of marathon running and CrossFit

Don’t forget to hit us up with story tips, highlights, quotes of the day and more.

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“Either run the day or the day runs you.” - Jim Rohn

  Teaching Others About Living in the Darkness During Blind Awareness Month  

Teaching Others About Living in the Darkness During Blind Awareness Month

National Blindness Awareness Month (October) just concluded and Kym Dekeyrel knows what that means firsthand.

Dekeyrel was born with a degenerative eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa and was told when she was five years old that she would gradually lose her sight. Her earliest memories include eye doctors holding up brightly colored puppets, but she didn’t think anything was any different for her than life was for other kids.

Things started to change when she went to school.

Dekeyrel remembers:

  • “Teachers started to notice I was struggling with things, and in junior high school, I 100% knew I was different. I knew I couldn’t see very well, and it was pointed out to me regularly because kids are mean.”
  • “It was so hard because, at that point, I still had sight, and I had to wear glasses. I had to wear these special orange-tinted glasses outside, and my books were not just large print; they were enormous.”
  • “They didn’t have the technology that they have now where a large print book is the same size as a normal book. I joke around that visually impaired kids don’t know how good they have it now!”

At that age, it was extremely hard, and Dekeyrel did her best to hide that she couldn’t see, even when she was doing her favorite thing – dancing.

  • “I didn’t wear my glasses when I danced–I could totally hide it, and I felt I was amazing when I danced. That started my bad habit of not saying that I couldn’t see or that I was visually impaired.”
  • “That was both this amazing source of feeling like I belonged, but also incredibly shameful. When I was in college, I would have rather been seen as stupid, or drunk, or anything else than saying I couldn’t see.”

Dekeyrel had close friends who helped her navigate through college, and she graduated with a degree in dance. She was diagnosed with Lupus with symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis at 24 years old, which ended any sort of career in ballet.

Dekeyrel completely lost her sight after surgery due to a massive Lupus flare-up when she was 32.

  • When I woke up from that surgery, I had nothing, no vision. I didn’t freak out because the vision I did have wasn’t great anyway, but I also felt like maybe it would get better once my body healed. It just never did.”

Her husband had been doing CrossFit for several years when he eventually dragged Dekeyrel into the affiliate.

  • “I started CrossFit because I was a shell of a human being. My husband had been doing CrossFit for years, and I kind of resented him a little because he had something and I had nothing. I cried all the way there.”

Dekeyrel felt embraced immediately.

  • “I was instantly taken under everyone’s wing–people were so nice and awesome. Some people didn’t get it at first, but I could even feel them wanting to get it. For instance, I would feel someone kind of standing there, so I would turn to them and ask if they could grab me weights, and they were happy to even be part of this process.”

Dekeyrel took part in a partner competition, and strangers kept approaching her, blown away that she was blind and competing.

  • “It was unbelievably liberating. The whole weight of the world came off of me at that moment, and CrossFit became my sanctuary.”
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Teen Summer Camp at the Pit Fitness Ranch: Year number three of the Pit Prodigies Camp takes place June 6-9, 2024 and there are 30 spots available for athletes to train with world-class coaches on endurance, lifting, conditioning, nutrition and more. Sign up now.

“Put me in coach”: Games veteran and broadcast reporter Jamie Hagiya announced that she is taking on the 35-39 Masters Division in the upcoming Games season.

ICYMI: We talked with Scott Panchik about avoiding burnout, both as an elite athlete and a regular CrossFitter who works out for fun and health.

  StreamFit Gym Management Platform Offers Innovative Way to Help Gym Owners Increase Revenue  


StreamFit Gym Management Platform Offers Innovative Way to Help Gym Owners Increase Revenue

It was 2009 and I was a student and a member of CrossFit London in Ontario. There was no app to register for a class, or book an appointment for a personal training session, or pay for a bottle of water, and each month the owner had to remind me to bring a check for $120 for my membership fee before the end of the month.

Just like our fitness, the sophistication of our business systems have evolved since 2009, largely thanks to gym management software companies, who started to emerge as CrossFit grew, to help small gyms operate more professionally and efficiently.

And now there’s a new gym management platform in the space who has made a big splash due to their low cost to use and innovative ideas: StreamFit.

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  Affiliate of the Month: 26.2 CrossFit Helps 1,500-Plus People Cross  

Affiliate of the Month: 26.2 CrossFit Helps 1,500-Plus People Cross "Run a Marathon" Off Their Bucket List

Allie Newell “really sucked at running.”

In fact, when he went to a running seminar 15 years ago with endurance coach Brian Mackenzie, he said he was told, “We haven’t actually seen anyone run as bad as you in our careers,” said Newell, who started CrossFit in 2007.

That was 14 years ago.

Fifteen years later, at the age of 53, Newell has completed 12 marathons and has helped more than 1,500 CrossFit enthusiasts run their first half or full marathon. Further, he has trained more than 50 marathon runners by adding CrossFit to their training program.

The 26.2 CrossFit Story

After finding value in running as a CrossFit athlete, Newell decided to open a gym devoted to helping CrossFit athletes run, and runners use CrossFit to improve their running.

  • “People in CrossFit could really benefit from running training, and runners could really benefit from CrossFit training, so let’s open an affiliate and name it 26.2 CrossFit,” Newell said of his original vision for his gym.

But he quickly realized convincing people of this might be harder than he thought.

  • “Runners abhor CrossFit and CrossFitters will sell kidneys to keep from running, so it was a hard run to get people to start coming to us, because nobody who ran wanted to CrossFIt, and nobody who CrossFitted wanted to run,” he said.

But somehow through the months and years,  Newell managed to overcome the objections and has helped countless people gain fitness and become better runners.

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Episode 7 of The Weekly Buzz

In case you missed it, Episode 7 is out now. Joe and Niki talk all things Rogue Invitational, and CrossFit HQ's announcement of their new VP of Affiliates and Operations. Give it a watch and get caught up!


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