Meet Ireland’s fittest woman

The European stage of the gruelling CrossFit Games starts tomorrow in Copenhagen and one Irish woman is hoping to come out of the competition on top.

Hilary Riordan, 25, is the only Irish competitor in the event which describes itself as the only true test of fitness in the world. Over the course of three days, athletes will compete in seven events which test skills, strength and distance. The events include everything from handstand push-ups and one-legged squats to sprints and a legless rope climb.

The top three overall athletes will move on to compete in the CrossFit World Games in California later in the year to compete for the top prize of $1m (€718,248).

Hilary runs a gym in Clonakilty called Guerilla Fitness with her partner, Brendan Walsh. Brendan, who is also her coach, was the one who introduced her to CrossFit three years ago.

Hilary, 25, told that she’s feeling prepared for the challenging events over the next three days.

“I'm feeling great. I was a little bit stiff when I woke up after all the travelling yesterday. This morning we went and did some stretching and mobility and I am feeling a lot better after that. Overall, I'm excited - a little bit nervous but looking forward to getting stuck into the action tomorrow."

Hilary will be competing against the top 48 females in Europe in the women’s individual section of the Games. She is currently ranked 30 out of the 49 female competitors.

The reigning CrossFit games champions Sam Briggs and Annie Thorisdottir are competing this weekend, as is former Olympic silver medallist Oxana Silvenko.

"I have competed against quite a few of the competitors alreadyso there will be quite a few familiar faces around," said Hilary.

Hilary, who follows the Paleo diet has been putting in the extra work in advance of the Games to make sure she is in top condition.

“I train six days a week with Sunday being a rest day. On four of those days, I train twice a day, usually between 8am to 10am and 3.30pm to 5pm. The other two days are single sessions. The volume may seem quite high, but it works well for me.”

With all that work put in, Hilary is now preparing mentally for the first event which is happening tomorrow at 1.30pm.

“All the hard work is already done. I had my last big training day on Tuesday. Yesterday we spent the day travelling and today will be spent doing a lot of mobility and making sure that the body is rested and ready for action tomorrow”.

While she'd obviously like to move on to the final leg of the Games in California, Hilary has her own personal targets to reach in the competition.

“For my first time at Regionals, my aim is to learn as much as I can and take away as much experience from the weekend as possible with the intention of qualifying again next year.

"I have a few goals and targets that I want to hit over the weekend and, if I can achieve these and give it 100%, I won't be leaving disappointed “

Hilary has some words of advice for any young girls who may be following her progress.

“Try and find a sport you enjoy and love doing - it doesn't have to be CrossFit, just as long as you enjoy it. Sport can have incredible benefits that go far beyond the physical, that most people associate it with.

"It is an amazing tool for developing self confidence, positive habits and friendships that can go on to last a lifetime. Just remember don't be afraid to put yourself out there, try something new and and never let anyone knock your dreams”.

We’re right behind you, Hilary.

Event Schedule

Day 1:

Event 1: Dead-lifting a barbell using the hang squat snatch technique.

Event 2: Handstand walk as far as possible.

Event 3: Fifty one- legged squats, seven muscle ups on the rings, 10 hang power cleans.

Day 2:

Event 4: Handstand push-ups, front squats, burpees, weightlifting.

Event 5: One climb, using hands only, up a 14-ft high rope, 200-ft sprints.

Day 3:

Event 6: 50-calorie row, 50 box jump overs, 50 deadlifts, 50 wall balls (throwing a medicine ball at a target), 50 ring dips, 50 wall balls, 50 deadlifts, 50 box jump overs, 50-calorie row.

Event 7: 64 pull-ups, eight overhead squats


By Ciara Flaherty

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