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When the 46 men and 45 women who qualified to compete in the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games settled into their chairs for what they thought was a friendly welcome dinner in Los Angeles, they were in for a big surprise. Dave Castro, CrossFit director of training and the mastermind behind the games' events, announced competition would be starting 48 hours earlier than scheduled, with two tough events: a swim-bike-run across the soft sand and steep hills of U.S. Marine Base Camp Pendleton, followed by a contest over the camp's School of Infantry obstacle course.
Though the events to be included in the CrossFit Games, held since 2007, have always been a secret until the last minute, there have always been just three days of competition. Before the Pendleton race, an 8K run in 2009 had been the longest event in the games' history. Wednesday's course, though, was far longer. The overall winner, Australian Chad Mackay, completed the 700-meter swim, 8K bike and 11K run in 1:57:33. American Julie Foucher crossed the line first for the women, ahead of all but eight men, in 2:05:12.
The games will resume Friday afternoon at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., home of the Los Angeles Galaxy and the X Games. Because of a surge in popularity among athletes and fans, the games relocated from the CrossFit Ranch in Aromas, Calif., to the Home Depot Center in 2010. This year's games feature a full schedule of events that include muscle-ups, power cleans and rope climbs, as well as several events -- on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday -- that have yet to be announced.
Last summer, American Rich Froning and Iceland's Annie Thorisdottir were named the "Fittest on Earth." Both have returned to defend their titles and are favorites at the games. After the first day of competition, Froning was in fifth place, Thorisdottir in sixth.