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  • Writer's pictureJess

Pain Faces + PBs

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

You ready? These athletes sure were. I spent a couple hours taking in Battle Beyond the Barbell 2019 at CrossFit Sudbury yesterday; an awesome event in support of the Janis Foligno Foundation that I've been wanting to shoot for years.

Though I didn't know her as well as many, I do know that Janis was the epitome of strength, kindness and generosity. When my own mother was battling breast cancer - another workhorse of a woman - she was lucky enough to have Janis in her corner. Those two peas in a pod encouraged, supported and lifted each other through their wins and losses, dark days and bright ones. They made the best of the time they had and left behind children to carry on their legacies of love, endurance and compassion. I'm trying, but man it's hard to keep up with Folignos! ;)

Both the Foundation and the event were created in Janis' memory by her family to raise funds in support of cancer research, treatment, support and innovation. So what better reason to torture oneself with deadlifts and wall-balls?

It was my first time walking into a Box. For a long time, I've been turned off by the idea of CrossFit; I thought it was a cult of pompous exhibitionists with nothing better to do than tout their gainz publicly on social media. But I know when I'm wrong. The music was pumping, the room was PACKED, teammates spectators and competitors were cheering and applauding everyone's accomplishments, big or small, and the athletes were...superhuman. They were all pushing through their own battle with the encouragement and support of those around them, and isn't that what we all need more of? It takes a village they say, and this is one fun village.

Being entirely unaware of the format in which a CrossFit competition takes place, I stuck myself in a corner here, sandwiched myself between some spectators there and drooled a little over my subject matter. Not in a weird way - okay, a tad weird - but they were all. so. STRONG! I love taking photos of all levels of talent and skill, but when that much passion and dedication comes together in front of my lens, it makes for some pretty stellar images.

Big thanks to Kristin + Adam for letting me hang out, and all the staff, volunteers and participants that made the 7th installment of Battle Beyond the Barbell a huge success!

View the rest of the event photos at


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