Community. It is a word that can be complicated, but for some, like Collin Garnek, it is simple.
“A place that you can be and where it does not matter who you are and everyone around you is welcoming,” said Garnek. “I love the people that I am around. It is a great time.”
When walking through the blank white door on 762 W. Union Street in Athens, it is evident that Garnek, a coach at CrossFit SEO and current Ohio University senior, is correct. Whether it is overhearing conversations about people’s weekends or even wishing happy birthday to a fellow member, the connection with others is clear.
Others like Jolene Quirke, the owner of CrossFit SEO, have a similar yet different definition of community: a place where everyone shares a common like.
“I don’t care where you stand spiritually, I don’t care where anyone stands politically, but we share this common thing, CrossFit, and we throw everything else out the door,” said Quirke.
CrossFit SEO, the first CrossFit affiliate in Athens, has built its business on a commitment to the local community by providing a place where everyone can become part of a tight-knit community while achieving personal goals, owners and visitors say.
“It is for everyone, absolutely all ages,” said Quirke.
This includes Ohio University students, like senior Victoria Breeden, who make the short drive to work out.
“I just feel super welcome,” said Breeden, a member of the Ohio Bobcats soccer team. “Everyone is willing to push each other to their limits and make sure everyone does their best.”
CrossFit SEO tries to make sure all members are successful in reaching for their goals.
Weininger, an Ohio University alumna turned local kindergarten teacher, said accountability continues to be one of the biggest reasons for the success of CrossFit SEO and its members.
“Going through those difficult things together in a group, when you are all going through the same thing, it is a meaningful process,” she said.
“We like to make sure that everyone is accountable for themselves,” said Garnek. “It is a test of trying to see improvement and if you are lying, it is not improvement.”
Accountability is just one of the many reasons why CrossFit SEO fosters a community through a drive for fitness and keeps on bringing people, like Madison Weininger, back for more.
“I started when I was a sophomore in college and now, being two years graduated, I’m happy as can be,” said Weininger.