In 2014, Chad Verry launched The Little Warrior WOD, inspired by hero workouts, to help children fight against childhood cancer.
His first official WOD acted as a final workout to the Open — it was 14.6 at CrossFit Southie in Boston, Massachusetts. Since then, Verry has continued the tradition of finishing out the Open with The Little Warrior WOD, hosing 15.6 and 16.6 at the same location.
CrossFit Southie is where Greg Lukas first heard of The Little Warrior Foundation. But when his job moved him from Massachusetts to Wilmington, North Carolina, Lukas wanted to take The Little Warrior Project with him. “I don’t live in Boston any longer. And my thought was why don’t we make this as big as we could? So, if we could replicate the money they raised and everything in Boston on a single weekend workout, I would love to see it go to different Boxes across the nation,” said Lukas.
So he approached the Affiliate of his new Box, Port City CrossFit, in 2016 about making The Little Warrior WOD a thing after the Open. The owner of the Box, Keith Nelson, jumped onboard. “When I started training with Keith, he’s always been open to and supportive of things I’ve tried to do,” said Lukas. “The CrossFit community, as I’m sure you’re aware, so collaborative and so giving at its core, it’s actually what I fell in love with. I could give a shit about the workouts.”
And the 16.6 workout was not easy:
16.6 The Ups and Downs and the Unknowns:
14 Kettlebell swings
5 minutes of “remission”
16.6a: The Full on Flight
5 Minute AMRAP
Clean and Jerks (165/110)
With the various weights and athletes participating in The Little Warrior WOD at Port City CrossFit, Lukas said he relied on Nelson, Heidi Platow — who runs the Box’s social media — and another member at the Box for help in organizing it.
But he also relied on his knowledge of attending over 40 competitions to execute the event. Lukas’ job at a Biotech pharmaceutical company has caused him to travel a lot. He has visited just shy of 500 Boxes, which has allowed him to attend local and major competitions, like the CrossFit Games and Wodapalooza. “I was typing this email to Keith basically saying, ‘I’ve seen what’s good. I know what’s good. I know what well-run comps look like. I’ve helped with the details behind the scenes in some of these. I’ve done a lot of learning about what’s good and what an excellent experience looks like.’ To me, it was more of the execution of the competition. I sweat all the details,” said Lukas.
But The Little Warrior WOD would not have happened at Port City CrossFit if Nelson hadn’t made Lukas feel comfortable enough to suggest it. “The members follow the Coaches. So if your Coaches can open up the door for creativity to the members,” said Lukas, “I think it comes from the members speaking up of what they have seen or what they would like to see. And then it comes from a really good committed owner/coaching staff to help pull it out of people.”