Photos by Branden Nall

3 ABOVE IMAGES: Granite Games on Saturday June 4th in Viking Lakes, Minnesota.

magic at run for the lights


Every November the Chippewa Falls Parks and Recreation Department holds, “Run For The Lights”. A 5K run that supports the famous Irvine Park Christmas Village and its massive display of holiday lights – which can possibly be seen from space. Almost 400 people make their way to Irvine including a young runner, Lydia Fish. Her family, endurance enthusiasts in different sports including biking, skiing, and running. Lydia, no stranger to the tarmac or the trail, ran cross country at a very high level that awarded her a State Cross Country Championship appearance. This experience was what it took for her to take home the win in her division, that afternoon at ‘Run for the Lights’.

The prize - a three-month membership to CrossFit Chippewa Falls. An award that she couldn't accept because she was a WIAA student athlete which prohibits prizes or gifts of value outside of a scholarship if the student wants to continue participating in any sport affiliated with WIAA.

The silver lining - her mom also won her division. The award was the same, which she could, and did, give to Lydia.

The endurance part was already in place when Lydia walked through the doors of CrossFit Chippewa Falls for the first time. Little did she know that she would become a member of the gym and fall in love with something completely new. CrossFit. -and maybe the two prompt greeters, Murph and Marston, the two pups that keep the place in check. Picking up heavy stuff and putting it back down – running with a weight vest – climbing a rope – jumping rope – rowing – jumping over and on things, now occupy 4-5 hours of her everyday life.

“You can’t be a slacker if you want to reach your goals!”

Since the first day at the gym, the passion that ensued, Lydia has not just added some strength to her already great endurance but is better and fitter than most people her age, heck – any age.

Her first competition was the Rice Lake team competition. She and her squad sealed first place in the team event. Then Wodapalooza 2022, where she participated as an individual and placed sixth in the teen girls 16 to 18 division. Did I mention it was in, Florida. More specifically, Miami. Where she competed against the best of the best in, Crossfit!

Her most recent competition, The Granite Games. Held on June 3rd – 5th at Viking Lakes (Minnesota Vikings Training facility) just across the river in Eagan, Minnesota. The Granite Games is a CrossFit Games qualifying event for Elite Teams and Elite Individuals. The CrossFit Games are the ‘super bowl’ of the CrossFit world. Crowning the champions as ‘Fittest on Earth’.

Lydia competed in the Female AsRx Teams division, getting her feet wet on a big team stage. Competing with 2 other women from the Chippewa Valley, Courtney Becker and Caitlyn Spickler which made up Team LC2. The weekend’s 6 workouts kicked off with Friday morning with the Handstand Isabel Relay. This event has time cap of 10 minutes. Each competitor does 30, 80lb snatches and a 30 yard handstand walk before the next team member starts her set. They finished 3rd with a finish time of 0:7:16.48.

The rest of the weekend events netted them a final placement of 4th.

Just graduating on May 27th from Chi-Hi, Lydia plans on taking a year to hone her CrossFit skills before deciding on the direction she wants to go. If school is in the cards after that year – she is interested in Business, Accounting and Finance.

"She's a beast" -Brooklyn Sandvig, schoolmate.

As fierce as she is on the competition floor, she also maintains that dedication outside of the gym. She is competitive in just about everything and holds the mentality of “you can’t be a slacker if you want to reach your goals” as she so eloquently stated. She is a nanny, works for a local ice cream stop, is a waitress at a local restaurant and also teaches CrossFit to kids at CFCF. I’d say she is living that statement!

Lydia, follows CrossFit Mayhem’s Training plan from 9x CrossFit Champion Rich Froning and makes sure she couples that with eating as healthy as she can. Omitting dairy from the equation, she does her own grocery shopping to make sure she gets the foods she needs to fuel her body for performance and recovery. Her focus is on macros with an emphasis on protein – which she prefers to eat instead of drinking.

Overall, Lydia is on a path of infinite possibility with the glass ceiling that she keeps on shattering. Only 18 and full of spirit and drive, she has a mindset that will forge a path, as I foresee, in any direction she wants.

Helpful links to learn more about local stuff in the article:

Run for the Lights

Crossfit Chippewa Falls