INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hundreds of athletes gathered Saturday morning at the IMPD Training Center on Post Road for a one-day, multi-event CrossFit competition benefiting local homeless service providers and addiction recovery advocates.
The annual event, “Strength In Our Streets,” was first held in 2014 and now involves 300 competitors from 29 CrossFit affiliates statewide.
The 12-member coed teams comprising five men, five women and two judges competed in various workouts and relay-style events described by participants as “fun,” “intense” and “brutal.”
All proceeds — totaling more than $100,000 this year and upwards of $300,000 since the inaugural competition — will benefit Wheeler Mission and Outreach, Inc.
Peter Brasovan and Jared Byczko, co-owners of NapTown Fitness and creators of “Strength In Our Streets,” said they were grateful to be driving forces behind numerous stories of recovery and growth.
“When we started this gym, it was always important for us to give back to the community,” Brasovan told 24-Hour News 8.
The unique pairing of CrossFit training and fundraising to combat homelessness “just makes sense,” Brasovan explained, adding he appreciates the opportunity to channel the goal-oriented energy of athletic competition into reaching — and surpassing — community outreach goals.
“Most of the people who find CrossFit are looking for a change in their life,” said Brasovan. “Most people who fundraise are looking to change other peoples’ lives. People here [at Strength In Our Streets 2017] want to make a change in their life, they want to make a change in others’ lives, and they get to do it with 300 like-minded individuals.”
He and Byczko, childhood friends and soccer buddies, found their own team of like-minded individuals at Indianapolis-based Wheeler Mission and Outreach, Inc. when they first created Strength In Our Streets.
“There are so many people competing in the event and organizing it who once struggled [with homelessness and addiction] themselves,” said Brasovan. “Coming full circle … and helping others has a really personal angle for them.”
Brian Crispin, Director of Marketing at Wheeler Mission, said he was one of those individuals and credited local community outreach advocates with helping him turn his life around.
“Mine is just one story,” he said Saturday at the fourth annual competition. “There are many moving stories here.”