David Watson makes his breakthrough in ‘Hyrox’

THE Bahamas has had representation in just about every sport you could imagine. The latest to make their breakthrough is David Watson, who competed in the Hyrox.

Hyrox is an elite endurance race, which combines both running and gym workouts, where competitors run 1km, followed by one gym workout and this sequence is repeated seven times. Each race is hosted indoors in expansive exhibition halls, creating an immersive and electrifying race, where spectators support competitors from the beginning to the very end.

World class

This race format remains consistent across the globe, enabling global leaderboards and cumulative World Championships at the end of each season. It is hosted in 11 countries and more are added each year.

Accommodating professional athletes and everyday fitness enthusiasts looking to take their training to the next level, Hyrox is the sport for everybody. Some events have over 8,000 participants and 10,000 spectators, making this sport the world’s largest, mass-participation, fitness race.

Bahamas represented

The latest Hyrox was held May 4-6 2024 at Olympia, London with 6,705 competitors. David Watson represented The Bahamas and finished 117 out of 238 in the pro race in one hour and 19 minutes. The average time is some 1.5 hours in the non-pro race and ranges from one to three hours.

He said: “It was the toughest routine I have ever done.” He is a personal trainer in London and extremely fit. He has long been an all-round sportsman and competed in rugby in The Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau.

David Watson went on the podium to have his picture taken with his time displayed.

He was interviewed after the race.

  • Congratulations David. How did you feel about your race and time?

“Thanks. I was pleased with my race and time of 1 hour 19 minutes and finishing 117th out of 238. I did better than I expected, especially since I was in the pro race. The timings were closely grouped so that only 3 minutes and 25 seconds separated the 20 competitors ahead of me. The winner’s time was just 59 minutes, which is astonishing. The slowest athlete’s time was 2hours 19 minutes so I was an hour faster.”

  • How did you feel after the race?

“Shattered, like never before but elated. My endorphins were very high (endorphins are produced to help relieve pain, reduce stress and improve mood). My whole body was running on empty.’

  • How did you hear about it?

“I heard about it on social media. I met 10 athletes who competed before and they gave me a heads-up. There are pro and non-pro, or regular, races and nine competed in the former but only one in the latter. They all said the same thing, in effect: It was the three T’s: Tough, Tough and more Tough. It was the hardest race they had ever done. Some of them were PTs (personal trainers), whereas others had non-fitness jobs, like banking. Pro has about 50% heavier weights in the gym workouts and you really notice that big time, especially when you are exhausted nearing the end of the race.”

  • How many were in your particular race and why did you compete?

“About 100, which is the maximum number that can compete at once, given the size of the hall. These races are held in waves over three days. My race was on day 2. I was not put off by the arduousness of the race. I wanted to challenge myself, see if I can do it and beat them. The competitive nature of the race was a key attraction. It cost £110 to compete and spectators paid £10.”

  • Why did you race pro instead of regular for your first attempt?

He laughed: “I fully intended to start with the regular race but I made a mistake when signing up! I could not get a refund so I was stuck with pro and going in at the deep end. Only 8% opt for the pro race, the wiser 92% do just regular. This was disconcerting but thought it might be a good challenge to do pro first rather than regular. I just worried if I had bitten off more than I could chew. Now there was only one way to find out.

“The 1km races take place around the perimeter of the hall and the gym workouts are performed in the middle. We have apps that record our times so it does not matter where you start. I chose the middle and there are about 100 in each race. I overtook some and some overtook me. I was suffering afterwards. You quickly have to catch your breath and then get stuck straight into the gym workout. There is no time to fully recover, sadly.’

  • Are all gym workouts the same intensity?

“No, they are progressively harder, just when you would want them to be easier. However, I never thought I would throw in the towel. You race 8km in total but the early ones are a bit longer and thankfully the later ones are a bit shorter. I felt relieved.’

  • What was the atmosphere like and the noise from the athletes and spectators?

“Electric. Loud spectators. I could briefly spot my friend but her encouragement was drowned by a thousand other voices. It was a bit like being in a Roman amphitheatre, which made you feel a bit special as you were part of it. I was running at seven mph so I waved but the moment soon vanished. There was no talking or camaraderie amongst the athletes but there was grunting during the gym workouts.”

  • How was the venue?

“Good and very spacious. Hyrox Olympia was venue specific, which means just that one event was held and it was not shared with others.”

  • What moments were most memorable in the race?

“Finishing and now knowing, rather than anticipating, I would make it. I had tunnel vision. All I could see was my world of pain and effort and I blocked everything else out.”

  • Why were you competing at 8pm?

“There are about 70 races over three days from first thing in the morning to late at night and that was my slot. I would have preferred mid-morning so I would be that much fresher.”

  • What was the ceremony with you on the podium?

“Each athlete goes on the podium and their time is displayed behind them. Being on it is a great feeling. You need to focus on that to get through the pain barrier and not suffer the dismay of not being on the podium. One friend on another day saw someone quit and I can hardly imagine their disappointment, given their investment in time, effort, training and cost. The fear of failing is one of the greatest motivators.”

  • What were the observations of your spectator friend?

“She said it was an enticing and exciting event and she was proud of my time.”

  • Any other comments and observations?

“Hyrox is a very good sport to help people keep fit. Maybe start with doubles or with a team of four to minimise the gym workouts.’

  • Will you do it again and, if so, choose pro?

He paused, thoughtfully, “Yes, pro again, since I know I can do it, and I want to improve my time. It is in November in London. I would like to do it with a buddy and maybe a PT from work might enter. I also have a relative who is a PT and then we could have two Bahamians competing!”

No coming last

98% of athletes complete their race. With no finishing time restriction and no qualification required to enter, Hyrox welcomes participants with open arms. It is a race at your own pace and the structure eliminates the fear of coming last. Every race has start waves of all ages every 10 minutes. Put simply, this means that a three hour athlete can cross the finish line the same time as a 60 minute athlete.

The non-pro race is a 1km run before each of the eight gym workouts: 1,000m SkiErg, 4x12.5m Sledg Push (165lbs), 4x 12.5m Sledg Pull (110lbs), 80m Burpee Broad Jump, 1,000m Row, 200m Kettle Bells Farmers Carry (35lbs each side), 100m Sandbag Lunges (22lbs) and 75x Wall Balls (9lbs).

The entrants were: Men: pro 238, non-pro 1,859, pro doubles 117, non-pro doubles 1,032, team relay 33. Women: pro race 118, non-pro 1,305, proXyrox is a new race and was founded in 2017. It has grown rapidly and is now being held in 11 countries. 24,000 people competed in Hyrox events in London in 2023. The nearest Hyrox location to The Bahamas is New York and the next race is on June 1.

Is it for you?

For those that want a less-demanding race, you can enter with a teammate in the doubles categories, or split it four ways in the team relay category. All have to do the full 8km run but you can split the workouts up however you like. There are age group categories that let you choose your own level of competitiveness.

Next stop Bahamas?

Since 2021, the Netherlands, UK, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Sweden, Denmark and the UAE hosted their first Hyrox. This growth trend has been experienced in other races too. Just consider the marathon: there are now up to 4,000 each year with 11 million runners.

Maybe The Bahamas should consider hosting Hyrox?

The Bahamas has strong sporting credentials – Olympic Gold, hosting CARIFTA, World Relay and Commonwealth Youth Games, just to mention a few. Team Bahamas could give the competitors a run for their money.

After all, competitors spend almost half the time running and Bahamians know a thing or two about that. All it needs is an exhibition hall, while Hyrox would rent that, supply the gym equipment and organise the event. Thus, the event could be self-funding. Plus, it would put The Bahamas firmly on the world sporting map, attract untold numbers of visitors and be good publicity.


bahamianson says...

Did the bahamas government give this white bahamian a scholarship or , is it waiying for him to become famous beforw pleading with him to wear the flag?

Posted 24 May 2024, 2:33 p.m. Suggest removal

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