Fountain of Youth

4 mins read

Beaufort’s Hardie still going strong, set for CrossFit games


When Dave Hardie missed qualifying for last summer’s CrossFit Games by three spots, he figured his dream was over.

At age 60, Hardie just missed making the cut of 20 athletes who qualified for the CrossFit Games — the pinnacle of the fitness regime-turned-sport — in the 60-and-over Masters division. And with another year of allowing age to encroach, as well as the field being trimmed down to 10 competitors in each age division for the 2019 event, the outlook wasn’t good.

As if the advancement of age wasn’t enough of a challenge, Hardie also had surgery in June 2018 to repair the rotator cuff in his shoulder — the result of age, he says, not CrossFit — leading to a six-month rehabilitation process.

Nonetheless, Hardie made one more run at his ultimate goal. He was one of 40,000 competitors who entered the online CrossFit Open in February and advanced through the qualifying process, ultimately earning one of 10 spots in the 60-and-over division at the CrossFit Games, which take place Aug. 1-4 in Madison, Wisconsin.

“This has been a dream for at least five years,” said Hardie, who in June won the 60-and-over division at the Granite Games in St. Cloud, Minnesota. “When I first started CrossFit, I didn’t know what the CrossFit Games were, but it’s been a dream for a long time. This is the athletic pinnacle for me.”

Hardie took up CrossFit in 2013 while living and working in suburban New York City, but he ratcheted up his training when he and his wife, Marissa, moved to Beaufort three years ago, trading his daily commute into the city for more time in the gym.

He spends two to three hours per day training, doing workouts provided by his remote coach and physical therapist in Pensacola, Florida, and working with world-class weightlifting coach Ray Jones to improve his lifts. Jones also coaches Marissa, a Masters weightlifter with Team Beaufort.

Hardie is a member at CrossFit Beaufort, the gym he will represent at the CrossFit Games, and also teaches a class there one night a week. But he says he couldn’t have achieved his lofty goal without help from other local gyms that have welcomed him for workouts when necessary.

Although his competitive career is likely coming to a close after next weekend, Hardie says CrossFit will remain a big part of his life, and he hopes others will follow his path.

“I think CrossFit is a fountain of youth,” he said. “I think it enables you to kick butt into your 90s. It’s only as intense as people make it, so not everybody there is trying to compete on a global level. It’s just a magical way to get fitter and stay younger.”

As for what to expect from his final competition, Hardie has only a vague idea — and he says that’s part of the beauty of the sport. Athletes will compete in seven to nine workouts over the three-day competition, but the disciplines could range from an open swim on a lake to heavy barbell lifts such as back squats or clean and jerk to a gymnastic element such as handstand pushups or ring muscle-ups.

“They talk about CrossFit being the unknown and the unknowable,” Hardie said. “We don’t know what the workouts will be until we get there.”

After the journey he’s taken to get there, Hardie is ready for anything.

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