In her sixth time competing at the Crossfit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, Hollister resident Hylie Thompson placed fourth in the masters division (ages 55-59) with 430 points. Thompson, 56, was the second best American in her division, and just 30 points behind French competitor Marion Valkenburg for third place.
Thompson, co-owner of Crossfit San Benito, started doing crossfit 10 years ago. Crossfit is a fitness program that incorporates different methods of exercising.
She began competing in the Crossfit Games in 2013, where she placed 18th in the 50-54 age division. Her best finish before this year was fourth place in 2014. As the games grew, she continued to place near the top 10 with 12th, 13th and ninth place finishes, respectively. She missed the 2017 games due to elbow tendonitis.
Thompson competed against nine of the best world qualifiers in her division during this year’s four-day event that began on Aug. 1. She started strong, earning 90 points with a second place finish in her first competition, the ruck run, with a time of 24:19:51. In that event, racers ran 4,500 meters (2.8 miles) with a backpack loaded with additional weight after each lap.
Points were awarded based on rank per competition. First place receives 100 points; second place receives 90 points; third place 80, and so on.
In her second day of competition, Thompson gave a strong showing in the sandbag triplet event that included 90 feet of handstand walking, followed by carrying a 100-pound sandbag and 25 air bike calories, which is riding an air bike until said calories are burned. She finished with the fourth best time at 4:16:09.
That same day, Thompson also competed in the down and back chipper that included two 400-meter runs, 40 box jump-overs, dumbbell thrusters, handstand push ups and 20 105-pound power cleans. She placed seventh with a time of 14:05:03.
Looking to finish strong on the last day, Thompson placed fourth, sixth and sixth in the last three events; two repetitions of max overhead squat with 135 pounds and two bicouplet events.
“Usually by the end of that day you’re just literally spent,” Thompson said. “Mentally, with the adrenaline in the competition, I think it takes more out of you than the physical, because most of us train harder than that everyday.”
In the first bicouplet event, Thompson did three repetitions of snatches with 45 pounds and pull-ups. The second event changed the repetition ratio and replaced the pull-ups with chest-to-bar pull-ups.
Thompson said that when she returned to Hollister the following day she could hardly move her arms and was forced to skip her workout.
“I haven’t been that sore in a long time,” she said.
Qualifying to compete in the Crossfit Games every year helped Thompson build a relationship with her competitors. They can reminisce on how the sport has evolved, from competing at the Stubhub Center parking lot in Carson in 2013 to participating in the 2019 opening ceremony.
“More and more people realize how much they have to train in order to make it,” Thompson said. “It gets very intense.”
Before qualifying for the Crossfit Games in 2013, Thompson started competing in local events.
“I did a few of those. I was also very shy,” she said.
Despite feeling that she would do terribly, Thompson eventually joined a team that had lost a member to injury in 2012.
“I did okay and helped the team a little bit,” she said. “But I completely enjoyed it, and so I thought ‘Oh, I’m going to try this.’”
While her competitive side has taken her out of retirement from the Crossfit Games several times, Thompson said this was her last Crossfit Games. Probably.
“As of right now I’m retired,” Thompson said with a smile. “I’m going to be somebody else’s bag carrier. But probably not.”