GRAND LEDGE, Mich. — At the age of 66, Jim Peeper is proving that you really shouldn't let your age slow you down when it comes to fitness. His hard work, determination and drive was the perfect recipe for him to snag third place in the world in his age group at the 2022 CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin.
Peeper's love for CrossFit sparked about 10 years ago.
“I went to a regular gym and worked out. And you know, I was happy with that," Peeper said. “I went by somebody's desk at work, and they had a weightlifting book out. And I don't know, it just caught my attention. So I started talking to them, and they said they did CrossFit, and I had never heard of CrossFit.”
His first thought about the sport was funny.
"My first thought was that sounds stupid. Why would anybody want to exercise lift weights as fast as they can? It doesn't seem like something you'd want to do," Peeper said.
But after some convincing words, he decided to try it out for himself and fell in love.
“Then got more serious about it two years ago," Peeper said.
For three or fours hours Monday through Friday, you'll usually find him at Redemption Fitness in Holt training alongside co-owner Jamie Latimer.
“We are not an affiliate, but we do participate in the all the stages of the CrossFit Games," Latimer said.
Latimer says CrossFit, in general, takes so many different modalities and mashes them all together.
"We run, we do Olympic weightlifting, we do gymnastics, we do strongman implements, they really mash it all up," Latimer said.
Peeper says he loves training with Latimer.
"She's such a good athlete, and her energy level is like through the roof," Peeper said. "I try to keep up with her. And I just know that if I can come anywhere near keeping up with her, then I can keep up with people my own age."
Competing is about a five-to-six-month long process. It starts with the Open then the top 10 percent moves to quarter finals.
"And then depending on age bracket, they have adaptive divisions for missing limbs. They all kind of break off into their own groups, but there's a semifinals, whether it's in person or still online, and then you make it to the CrossFit Games," Latimer said.
Latimer also competed and placed 26th in the world in the 35 to 39 age bracket at semifinals, while Peeper finished in the top 10 and went on to compete in the CrossFit Games at the beginning of August.
"When I went there, my goal was not to finish last of the 10. I just didn't want to finish last," Peeper said.
But surprisingly, he exceeded his goal and placed 3rd in the 65 and up age bracket.
“I was very shocked, actually. Because I did not expect to," Peeper said.
Latimer said watching Peeper in the competition was nerve racking.
"It's really, really hard on the floor to like, coach, watch the field, watch your athlete and run points at the end. That was super, super nerve racking. And then they took like an hour to figure out the points. Like they had an error on the floor, so it was nerve racking. It was also his birthday that day. So it was like so stinking exciting," Latimer said.
The CrossFit Games might be over, but Peeper isn't slowing down any time soon.
"We actually have a couple of competitions coming up. One in October and one in December," Peeper said. “ I had people when I got back from the CrossFit Games asked me, so you're gonna take two weeks off or a month out? I said, 'No, can't do that.' You know, just go back to the gym and start working out and get ready for something else coming down the road. But you know, you just got to keep moving."
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