VIDEO: UPDATED- Throwdown has good first day

The Okanagan Valley Throwdown gives athletes a test on first day.

Penticton's Erin Paul strains to reach another rep on the bar during the Okanagan Valley Throwdown at the South Okanagan Events Centre Sunday. She went on to a second place tie in her division.

Penticton's Erin Paul strains to reach another rep on the bar during the Okanagan Valley Throwdown at the South Okanagan Events Centre Sunday. She went on to a second place tie in her division.

It felt like another Saturday in the gym for Cory Hilditch.

The difference on Jan. 28 is that Hilditch, a member of Beach City Crossfit, competed in the fourth annual Okanagan Valley Throwdown (OVT) Jan. 28 to 29 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

READ MORE: Okanagan Valley Throwdown coming

“You wake up, you go to the gym, you lift something heavy to start and then do some conditioning,” said Hilditch, catching his breath after a long workout. “Hang out with a group of guys or girls that are at the gym and it is kind of just one big family.”

Hilditch, a Penticton resident, was among 350 athletes to compete in the crossfit event co-presented by Hoodoo Adventures and Evolution Athletics, and fuelled by Muscle MLK Canada.

Hilditch said it was “pretty cool” to compete in his hometown.

“There’s not a whole lot of people from here that are actually doing it,” he said. “To be part of Penticton and being in this arena seeing the Vees play on this rink all the time, it’s cool to be down on ice level and feel what it’s like being in an arena with fans watching, cheering you on.”

Hilditch was prepared, saying the members at Beach City Crossfit train hard. This was his third OVT and he enjoys hanging out and being with the other guys. Hilditch said he had not competed at a high level since college and was glad to be back in a competitive atmosphere.

“You are always aware of what’s going on around you. Even if you are not looking and staring, you see them out of the corner of your eye, this guy is picking it up,” said Hildtich, who placed 18th among 24 in the RX M division. “It makes you push a little harder trying to keep up to some of these guys.”

Erin Paul, who finished second in the 39 to 44 women’s masters, loves the event and said to keep going is a matter of “keeping your head in it without wanting to quit.”

The mother of three prepared herself by eating right and training twice a day.

Clayton Kovach, another member of Beach City Crossfit, is new to the sport having just started in May. He was nervous as he stepped onto the mat to compete.

“Oh heck ya. If not, you’re dumb,” he laughed. “You have got to be scared. You got to go in scared. You just push.”

Kovach on Saturday earned a personal record lifting 140 pounds.

“I just want to compete hard. There is a lot of stuff that I’m not good at,” he said. “Just push hard and keep trying. That’s what crossfit’s about. It’s not who’s better than who. Crossfit is just about pushing against yourself to try to do what you want to do.”

Kovach loved the atmosphere inside the SOEC saying it is “a good vibe.”

“You can feed off of them. At first when I got into the gates, I heated up. I was just sweating. I was, I guess, maybe nervous. I was ready to go. Once I got on the floor, it was like I was in a different world. It’s awesome.”

The OVT is programmed uniquely using movements that include weightlifting, powerlifting, medicine ball and kettlebell training, rowing, running, skipping, plyometrics and gymnastics. While the event is geared towards fitness enthusiasts who already take part in crossfit, either competitively or recreationally, the Throwdown appeals to athletes of all abilities, especially first-time and recreational competitors.

The event attracts individual men and women, recreational groups, competitive and masters (ages 40-plus) teams from across Western Canada and the U.S.

Dustin Minty, OVT competition director, said everything ran smooth after it was set up. It is the second year he had held the role and said it helps to have a good volunteer crew, which they had just over 60.

“Lots of people that do crossfit, don’t come from that big of a sports background,” said Minty, who also officiates hockey games in the BCHL and is a Western Hockey League linesmen. “They have never had this kind of feeling. They love it.”

Lyndie Hill, owner of Hoodoo Adventures, said the weekend went great and that the athletes were happy. Hill said she didn’t have the final tally, but there was increase in spectators. She added there are plans to expand the event in 2019 to use the Okanagan Hockey Academy Training Centre side.

“We want to make it a well known event before doing that,” said Hill, adding they are looking to have TV production companies come to provide coverage in the future.

Hill also said they look to expand the event into Dawson Creek and Toronto, where Spectra Venue Management have venues. The plan would be to make the Okanagan Valley Throwdown the final.