Starting a new CrossFit or functional fitness competition from scratch can be difficult. Very difficult.
But not for Marc Gil, the founder of Limited Edition Athletes, a non-profit based in Spain whose mission is to “better the quality of life for people with disabilities through CrossFit,” as he explained. Gil is a long-time CrossFit athlete who is also visually impaired.
Gil has a rare genetic condition called Stargardt disease; he realized that Europe was in need of more functional fitness competitions for adaptive athletes, so he teamed up with José Picañol and they decided to create one.
The result was Wodcelona—a competition they hosted next to the water in Barcelona that Gil described as having a similar feel to Wodapalooza in Miami, FL—and in its first year it attracted 1,200 athletes to the online qualifier and 900 competed at the inaugural in-person event.
- “It was very unexpected,” admitted Gil about the competition’s quick success.
In fact, Gil didn’t even do much to market his then unknown event, he explained. It just happened organically, as people were attracted to the message: The most inclusive competition in the world.
Needless to say, the event’s success meant keeping Wodcelona going in 2023 was a no brainer.
The 2023 details: This year’s Wodcelona will offer 21 divisions, including 11 adaptive divisions, various levels for able-bodied athletes, as well as masters divisions and teenagers.
- The online qualifier opens on April 3 and starts in June, and the in-person event will run from September 15 to 17 in Barcelona.
- Because of how quickly last year’s competition grew, Gil and his team are limiting the in-person competition spots to 1,000 competitors.
The big picture: Though he’s hoping for another successful event that raises funds for his non-profit, Gil’s bigger goal is simply to offer a great experience at the most inclusive fitness competition in the world.
- “I want it to be 100 percent inclusive. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or masters athlete, woman, man, or adaptive athlete, you should have the opportunity to participate,” he said.
And he hopes the event will continue to grow well into the future, not necessarily in numbers, but in grandeur.
“I don’t necessarily want to make it bigger, but we want to make it greater in terms of experience. We just want people to go out there and have fun, understand the message behind the event, and see an incredible showcase of adaptive athletes killing it on the floor.”