Reflections of a CrossFit Masters Athlete by James ‘2.0’ Kelleher

23 April 2014

For those of you who don’t know James 2.0; he’s our 58 (soon to be 59) year old Masters athlete. He sets the pace for many (if not most) of the guys at Raincity Athletics, constantly putting up the scores to beat in the daily WODs. Nobody wants to lose to the ‘old guy’, but when they do they’re usually just proud to have even been close to him, because he’s that good (and did I mention he’s 58???).

James has been with Raincity Athletics almost since our opening. He spends about as much time at the gym as I do, and he’s always a glowing personality who’s eagerness to learn and improve himself is infectious. James and I have spent a lot of time together in the last 6 months (especially during the open) and he’s become a very close friend.

It’s been an absolute honour to watch and push James through his competitions this year. Having only been doing CrossFit for 6 months before taking part in his first CrossFit Open he finished 102nd in the WORLD in the 55-59 yr old mens category. He followed it up with 164th, 47th, and 52nd place finishes in 3/4 of the Masters Regionals qualifying events against the top 200 world wide. As I mentioned before, his will to work, his eagerness to learn and better himself, and his ability to push through pain are all inspiring, and infectious. He epitomizes everything we believe in here at Raincity Athletics.

Below is James’ summary and experience with the Raincity Athletics community and the Masters Open and Regional Qualifiers. If you see him around the gym make sure you give him props for his inspiring performance this year; and get ready to head to the CrossFit Games next year to watch him compete in the 60+ division with the top 20 in the world…

[fancy_header3]James ‘2.0’ Kelleher[/fancy_header3]

Masters Tourney – THANKS to everybody at the gym for your support!

The Masters Qualifiers Event is over! It did not go quite as planned …  :- ( … but …  I want to take this opportunity thank Coaches Thor, Lex, James 1.0, and Taryn for their work on my behalf: the organizing, videotaping, judging, and coaching. It’s hard to believe how much these guys care – and how hard each of them WORKS at making all of us better!

I also to thank all of my fellow RainCity gym-rats for the help, the cheering, the encouragement, the fantastic positive vibe that ALL of you provide!  It has been a pleasure and a HUGE privilege to play with,  work with, sweat and gasp with,and laugh with you beautiful people these past eight months.  Absolutely cannot wait for what the next year brings! I’m excited about the awesome improvements I see in the fitness, health and character of so many of you.And I appreciate how you make an old codger like me – “older than friggin’ dirt” – feel at home and welcome in the midst of a bunch of twenty-and-thirty-somethings. I’ve become enormously fond of so many of you. You people are awesome and amazing!!!

Getting a “DNF” in the Masters

OK, now for the not-so-great news: Some of you may know that I was NOT able to complete one of the workouts in the Masters Qualifiers – my PR in Snatch/ Overhead Squats was at least 5 lbs too light for the workout. So I got a “DNF”.  *Ugh*   I was NOT a happy camper at the end of this weekend; right up until the end, I thought I would be able to get that weight overhead, and drive my “ass to the grass”!

Well, I learned a valuable and humbling lesson: I have a HUGE hole in my CrossFit repertoire! Lots of work needed to get stronger, fitter, more mobile …  But – HEY! – Coaches Thor et al never promised us “easy” … and as Thor says, you don’t get defeated, unless you decide to quit … so … BACK TO WORK!!

Anybody wanna join me for some extra work on Snatches, Overhead Squats, and MOBILITY?? J

Just wait until next year’s Open!!

Memo to: The Coaches at RainCity – a MASSIVE thanks!

I just want to say a few things about RainCity Athletics as an organization made up of inspiring coaches.

I have had a LOT to do with Thor these past eight months – 4, 5, sometimes 6 days a week, I’ve been bugging him …. So I’ll start with him …

Simon (“Thor”) Damborg is an amazing, awe-inspiring human being (who uses the word “awesome” an awesome amount of the time! J )  I love this guy!  He is one of the most knowledgeable fitness coaches you’re ever gonna meet – and he is ALWAYS striving to learn more. Most importantly, he CARES about every athlete in our gym; he is obsessed with helping each and every one of us to reach our fitness potential.  Everybody MATTERS to Thor: he want everybody to improve and to become what they can be.

In the first 8 months of Raincity Athletics existence I know Thor has put in some crazy hours.  Almost no days off; no social life other than the gym; no vacation time until (finally!) just the other week (and even then he spent part of his time on the beach creating new programs for us!) During all that time—starting up a brand new gym, training a bunch of “newbies”—he never lost his energy; he never lost his focus. This box is what it is today because of the AWESOME, ENORMOUS, STUPENDOUS effort made by this individual – and we all owe him our appreciation and gratitude.

I know I could never have made the kind of progress I’ve made without the big guy.  I honestly cannot put into words how highly I think of him. He treats everybody like a champion, regardless of ability or athleticism.  All he asks is that we give full effort!

Alexi Bergeron:  I love this guy! (In fact, I think we are in the midst of a “bro-mance”!) Lex is unbelievably knowledgeable … and wise beyond his years.The man exudesforce of character (“gravitas” is what the ancients called it).  He is the “old guy” at the gym (at least when I’m not around). When Lex talks, you should listen – ‘cause you’re gonna hear something useful and interesting. And just try to keep up with him on a WOD!  The guy has an engine!!! And he CARES so unbelievably much about us – it’s kinda scary! (But in a good way!)

Jimmy Whyte (1.0): Does anybody in the world have a cheerier smile, a sunnier disposition, or better hair??! You gotta love this guy! Jimmy is a ray of sunshine in the gym whenever he shows up. Strong as an ox, tough as nails, sweet as pie – and ready to help anybody any time.

Taryn Haggerstone: Oly lifter extraordinaire.  If anything, even cheerier than Jimmy! Always around (only Simon is around more!) and always there to help.  My goal in life: to match her on at least one of her lifts! LOL!

Final Thoughts

I have been working out all of my life. I’ve taken all sorts of training in various sports and in exercise training and physiology. As an academic, I have researched the philosophy of sport and of fitness.  I have NEVER experienced anything quite like the exercise and fitness regimen put together by the coaches of RainCity Athletics.

We are – all of us – extremely lucky to belong to this gym! I know it might sound corny – but I feel as though all of you are “Family”, a group of extraordinary, like-minded individuals who support each other as each of us strives for excellence. A “band of brothers and sisters” struggling together, and having a blast while we do it.

All the best to everybody in RainCity! It was great doing the Open with all of you! Looking forward to my next WOD with each of you.


James 2.0


Author: Simon 'Thor' Damborg

Simon is the Head Coach and Owner of Raincity Athletics. “Discovering a new level of health has changed my life, not only in how I look feel and perform, but how I feel about myself both inside and out. I want to help as many people as I can discover their ‘athlete within’ no matter what level that may be, which is why I love our slogan: Find Your Fit. Our bodies are nicer than any car, house, or pet we’ll ever own, and yet we constantly abuse them like we can buy another one if it breaks. I strongly believe if we can maximize our physical health and performance it will have a positive affect on our lives in more ways than anyone can imagine.”

Raincity Events
Raincity Athletics & CrossFit Pacific Central
#102 – 333 Terminal Avenue

Vancouver, BC V6A 4C1

Office: 778 383 9316
info @ raincityathletics.ca
© Raincity Athletics Inc. & Simon Damborg
Photos by Julieth Fajardo