CrossFit Winter Park fights leukemia

Fundraiser fitness battle this Sunday at Winter Park CrossFit will raise money for Leukemia Lymphoma Society

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  • | 2:27 p.m. March 30, 2017
Winter Park CrossFit athletes last year raised thousands of dollars for LLS. Now they'  re doing it again.
Winter Park CrossFit athletes last year raised thousands of dollars for LLS. Now they' re doing it again.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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When the tents start to spread across the tiny parking lot at CrossFit Winter Park, expect the grunting to begin.

Fifty teams of extreme fitness enthusiasts are expected to spend Sunday gutting out clean-and-jerks, whipping jump ropes through the air and doing burpees — all for a good cause.
The Winter Park Classic Battle for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is kicking off Sunday morning with an expected 100 competitors battling each other to raise money to fight cancer.
Each year, LLS holds a national fundraising competition looking for who will be the Man of the Year and Woman of the Year. This year, Bea Miranda, of Metro City Realty, is raising money for the charity and looked to Winter Park’s CrossFit for help.
This will be the second year of the competition. Last year, the gym was approached by Winter Parkers Brandon and Michelle Crossland to raise money for the first time. Brandon was already an avid CrossFitter at the time, and it felt like a natural fit, said CrossFit Winter Park co-owner Stephanie Nickitas. The tight confines in Winter Park made it a bit of a challenge, but the gym pulled it off.
“We typically don’t run competitions here because of parking and space, but it went off really well last year,” Nickitas said.
This year, Miranda was raising money for LLS, and just like that, the competition was on again. This year’s goal is $10,000 — which all will benefit LLS. As of press time, about 50 teams have registered, but the gym still is looking for more participants willing to sweat for a good cause and a great time.
“Everybody brings tents, food, chairs, drink some adult beverages,” Nickitas said. “It’s fun.”
It’s fitness, fundraising and lifesaving with a side of beer.  
“It’s all about working out and throwing down a few afterward,” said Scott Drew. “It’s nice to give back. It’s still a competition. It’s still a good time.”
Working out inside the gym last Friday morning, Drew was one of a handful finishing a nationwide CrossFit competition, getting in those last few hundred jump-rope revolutions and maybe a few dozen more clean-and-jerks with 65 to 95 pounds of barbell weight. Trainer Katie Mercadante called out the count.
Tupac’s “All Eyez on Me” blasted overhead and sun peeked through the front windows as Nicole Lacek gripped the bar in front of her feet and gutted out a few final reps. She rowed at the University of Central Florida when a teammate announced she had leukemia. When she started doing CrossFit about the same time, she had no idea she’d have an intimate connection to the cause. Sunday, while she’s battling that weight at her feet, she’ll be fighting leukemia, too.
“When I’m done, I’ll feel a little extra awesome,” she said.  
And maybe she’ll have helped raise a lot more money to fight the disease.
“It’s such a positive experience for the gym,” Mercadante said. “We feel like we can make an impact doing what we love.”  


Winter Park Classic — Battle for LLS
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 2
WHERE: CrossFit Winter Park, 125 W. Fairbanks Ave.



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