Check out our interview with Eric Botsford, Head of Business Development for Hyrox, as he tells us what to expect when the event comes to Chicago on Saturday, June 26th.
1 – Tell us what Hyrox is. How long has it been around?
HYROX is the Fitness event for everybody. The event was born out of the long history of mass participation events like Triathlon and Running, and the surge of people who identify ‘Fitness’ as their sport. HYROX is a perfect combination of an all around fitness test that combines endurance, strength, stamina and mental grit. The event is set up in a race format with a specific start and finish. Every athlete or team completes 8X 1K runs and 8X Fitness stations. The running takes place on an indoor track and the workouts take place in the center of the event in what we call the RoXzone.
The event is relatively new. Starting in 2017, the first event went off at the birthplace of HYROX; Hamburg Germany. It has since exploded around Europe, now expanding to Austria, Netherlands, and Greece. This year we will produce our first event in Spain and the UK. Here in the US we only got to produce 4 events before COVID put the brakes on everything, but we are excited to have now done 3 events this year alone before our Chicago comeback June 26.
2 – Is this an event that people of all athletic abilities can participate in?
HYROX is, at its core, a mass participation event. This is what drew me to it. Whether you are racing as an individual or a doubles team, there is no challenge or lap on this course which CAN’T be completed if you set your mind to accomplishing it. The other really great aspect of the HYROX event is the course lay out itself. It is scalable in the sense that you can choose to run in either the opens or pro division so as to push the sled or carry the kettlebells that are right challenge for you. But there is also the ability to see where you sit race to race. The course and workouts do not change so you can use HYROX as a benchmark for your fitness. The workouts test the entire body so you can look at your times in each workout station and see how it stacks up against your previous run.
Also, there is a global ranking leaderboard on the website so you can see where you sit relative to all the athletes that have ever run HYROX! This means, if you are competitive like I am, I can see the times that the best athletes in the world are getting, and train to match or beat those times.
3 – Tell us about your time here in 2020.
2020 was a tough year for everyone in sports. I joke with my team that an events company without events is akin to a form of insanity. We spent a lot of that time, refining the product, producing Virtual competitions, and developing a robust COVID safety plan so that we could come back to events quickly and safely once the world got back on its feet. And that is exactly why we are back and stronger than ever. It’s why the city of Chicago and Navy Pier is so excited to be our host city.
4 – How does the event work? Talk us through what a participant can expect. Parking, packet pick up, race day, etc.
First, go to HYROX.com and check out what the event entails. What you will quickly see is that this is more than a race, it is a global movement, building a worldwide community. Once you have signed up as an individual or a doubles team, you will receive a training plan to help you in case you don’t already belong to a running group or a gym. As well, on our website we have a gym finder so you can search out HYROX affiliate gyms in your area that will help you get ready for the race and find a community of like minded athletes.
A week out from the event you will be sent your official start time, athlete guide and technical briefing. All this information makes showing up the day of the event very smooth.
The day of the race you will show up and receive your timing chip and wrist band at registration. Once inside you can drop your gear at our secure gear check which is a unique bonus to our events. I’m sure a lot of the readers have dropped things at the bag drop and had their fingers crossed all day that they would receive their goods back! We take the guesswork out of that. You will then write your starting time and number on your arm, show up at the start line 10 minutes before to get your briefing… and then you are off!
During the race you will be guided by our volunteers and professional judges through each workout and on course. We also have an aid station in the ROXZONE, where you can re-hydrate and keep the engine going.
After you cross the finish line we will have finisher beers, water and snacks. Here will also be where you receive your finisher medal, patches and don’t forget to pick up swag at the Puma Store!
5 – Why did you select Chicago to host Hyrox?
Navy Pier is one of the most iconic venues in the United States. Before COVID we produced an amazing event here and we wanted to come back and celebrate the re-opening of the city with the people of this great city. We chose this venue as the site for our US Championships because of the same reasons. We had to put the World Championships on hold because of COVID, so we needed to give those that qualified a chance to race against their peers.
6 – How can athletes register?
Registration is easy. Go to hyrox.com, click on the Chicago event and you will be guided through an easy registration process.
7 – What else do you want Chicago athletes to know about Hyrox?
As I said before, HYROX is coming back to Chicago to celebrate the re-opening of the city and the return of events. We have been using the hashtag #freethefit for this reason. We are as excited to come back to Chicago as you all are. We will be having athletes from all over the country coming to the city for this event and cant wait to welcome everyone who comes out into our #hysociety.