The Rainhill Trials review


The Rainhill Trials was the most intense Crossfit I’ve done yet and it was my first individual Crossfit competition. I competed in the Summer 2018 competition which took place on Saturday 14th July and Sunday 15th July at one of the arenas at Sports City in Manchester.

This competition is one of the most popular Crossfit competitions in the UK and takes place four times a year. There are only two ways to get a place, the first is through a ballot and the second is by volunteering at a previous competition. I was lucky to get a place through the ballot on my first try, although initially I had been rejected and only got a spot when someone else didn’t claim their space.  

Once your place has been confirmed you have to do a series of seeding workouts and submit your scores to the organisers. A few weeks later you receive an email telling you which category you are in and your heat. There are 4 categories in total for both men and women, starting with the top category called Rocket, then Kennedy, then Rastrick and the last one Wood. The bottom two categories (Rastrick and Wood) compete on the Saturday while the top two compete on the Sunday. Within each category there are 2 heats with equal number of competitors.

My seeding results put me in Rastrick and I was placed in the 1st heat, which meant I was competing on the Saturday. The WODs for all categories are the same with the same time limits, however weights get lighter the further down the categories you are and those competing on Saturday are able to scale movements without a penalty, for example I could do kettlebell swings instead of pull ups. The WODs were released a few weeks before the competition and to my relief I could do all the movements in my category.

There were 4 WODs in total. The first was an 8 minute time cap to do 3 rounds of a 200 meter run, 10 shoulder to overhead (30kg weight for my category) and 50 double unders (which I scaled to 100 single unders). Inside the arena it was extremely hot and stuffy as there was no air conditioning and, even with the doors open, no breeze; this meant that not long into the WOD my throat became really dry and there was no chance of stopping for a quick sip of water. Everyone had to compete in the same conditions though and I think the stuffy air inside meant no one competed at their absolute best on the day. Overall this was my favourite and best WOD on the day, probably because there was running involved and I came 26th in my category for it.

The second WOD was weightlifting and because of that the one I was most nervous about. In a time limit of 5 minutes each competitor had to find their maximum weight for doing 5 hang squat cleans. Before the day I had decided to do a weight of 45kg, so on the day I came in and went straight for 45kg – I got all lifts and happily left it at that. We then had a three minute rest during which time we set up our bars for the third WOD – a 10 calorie row, 15 power cleans (27.5kg weight for my category) and in the remaining time as many bar over burpees as possible all within a 2 minute time cap. Our score was taken from the number of bar over burpees we completed – I scored 13.

The final WOD ended up being the most exhausting. This WOD was a 6 minute amrap (as many rounds of possible) of 8 kettlebell swings (I had scaled from 4 pull ups), 8 thrusters at a 25kg weight and eight box step overs. The moves were simple and on paper it would be a WOD that I would do really well in, but I think the heat inside the arena plus not refuelling properly between WOD 3 and this one meant that I quickly started finding it tough and struggled throughout. 6 minutes had never felt so long. This WOD was a massive learning curve for me and it showed me how important it is to get nutrition right on the day to make it to the end of the competition.

The competition ended with a final for each category that was made up of the top 15 competitors. My final position was 37th which was 5 places better than where I had seeded so I was really happy with that.

Overall I loved the weekend, it was fantastic watching the competitors the next day who were at another level to us on Saturday; plus I really enjoyed competing. I’m already planning to go back to Rainhill and hopefully improve on my final position.   

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