Tabitha Mayberry entered the 2021 CrossFit Open on a whim after her friend and coach, Elisabeth Schach, suggested she compete in the new adaptive athlete divisions introduced this year. At the close of the Open, Tabitha's performances placed her 27th in the world for her division and left her excited to improve for next year.
A lifelong athlete, Tabitha was a college rugby player before a car accident at the age of 21 relegated her to a wheelchair. Not letting this set her back, Tabitha tried many different gyms and training regimens before falling in love with CrossFit.
"Other trainers really didn't know what to do with me," she recalls.
That was until she found her training home at CrossFit Commence in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Striving to complete workouts as closely as possible to other class members, Tabitha thrives in the regular class setting and confesses she is super competitive, even to the point of secretly picking out able-bodied athletes in her class to try and beat for each WOD. She has worked closely with her coaches and developed her own set of scaling options to keep the stimulus as close to its intended purpose.
"Following the programming is pretty easy because the coaches give great substitutions for workouts,” she says.
With the introduction of the adaptive division this year, Tabitha had a chance to compete again on what she hoped would be a level playing ground.
"The introduction of the division was really exciting," she said, but she would love to see some revisions moving forward. "There needs to be greater clarification. For example, there is a female in my division that can stand up with limited assistance, where I can not."
Tabitha's goal for the next open is to earn a pull-up. "I'm a pusher, not a puller,” she said and regularly training to shore up her weaknesses for next year. Until then she will continue to work hard, encouraging other potential adaptive athletes to join a local CrossFit box with the message of ‘Don't be afraid of CrossFit, anyone can do it.’ She is also working alongside Elisabeth to seek out potential athletes and grow the adaptive program at CrossFit Commence.