Newcomer on the running scene Jenni Bradwell is pretty fast, but not long ago, she was so heavy that negotiating a short distance was an effort.
In the past two years, Bradwell has lost around 70 pounds and 10 inches from her waist and is now down to 173 pounds. “I am 5 feet, 10 inches, so this is a pretty good weight for me,” she said.
Bradwell was average build until her brother died suddenly four years ago, right before she moved to the Cayman Islands from England.
Shortly after, her father, who has Type 2 diabetes, had his leg amputated due to his condition and developed liver cancer, which is now terminal.
“Pretty grim stuff and I went from being a normal weight to overweight in those few years,” she said. “Looking back, I was quite depressed and just gave up on diet and exercise. I got to the stage where I really wanted to make a change and was actively seeking something different from a regular gym.”
Bradwell never took up any sports nor did gymnastics in school. She attended gyms and did Zumba classes, but wanted something different and discovered CrossFit 7 Mile nearly two years.
Joining CrossFit helped considerably, both in weight loss and overall fitness. Bradwell improved so dramatically that she surprised herself by being the third fastest female at last month’s Olympic Day 5K.
“I had never won a trophy before,” exclaimed the 32-year-old accountant. Bradwell also ran the Valentine’s Day Mile.
She is not going to let all the hard CrossFit work go to waste. “I enjoy doing the 5Ks and I did the Stride for Cancer 10K in January. I aim to do the half marathon in Cayman in December and would love to run a marathon in the next two years.”
Bradwell’s advice to anyone intending to get fit is simple, especially if they do the intense workouts of CrossFit. “I would say you have to just take the plunge and try it.
“I walked in by myself, overweight and feeling intimidated, but I knew I really wanted to be there.
“The coaches are great and can adapt and are equally enthusiastic for athletes right at the top of their game to those just starting out, which I think is pretty unique.
“The really hard part is deciding to do it, just like stopping smoking or drinking.”