CrossFit Community to Honor Chad Wilkinson, Raise Awareness of Veteran Suicide

4
ByCrossFitSeptember 5, 2023

This Veterans Day, we’re asking the CrossFit community to join us, GORUCK, and The Step Up Foundation in support of this important cause. Take on the challenge of CHAD1000x on Nov. 11, 2023, when the workout will be posted for the first time as an official Hero workout on CrossFit.com for Veterans Day.

Since 2005, CrossFit has posted workouts meant to honor the memories of service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. These dedicated workouts are called Hero workouts and are CrossFit’s way of paying tribute to the fallen members of our community while showing our solidarity with those they left behind.


The Step Up Foundation

Navy SEAL Senior Chief Chad Wilkinson

Chad Wilkinson, a Navy SEAL, died by suicide on Oct. 29, 2018, due to the effects of numerous deployments, several TBIs, blast-wave injuries, and PTSD.

Wilkinson left behind a wife, two kids, and countless other friends and family members.

Since her husband’s death, Sara Wilkinson, a long-time member of the CrossFit community and trainer on CrossFit’s Seminar Staff, has been promoting awareness around veteran suicide and prevention through her nonprofit, The Step Up Foundation.

The Step Up Foundation raises funds to support programs dedicated to the research and treatment of combat-related injuries while honoring “our veterans and their invisible wounds.” Every year on Veterans Day, it unites people around the world with the workout CHAD1000X.

The workout consists of 1,000 step-ups with a weighted rucksack. Chad created the workout to train for the rigors of a near 23,000-foot summit in Argentina. After his death, CrossFit GM Dave Castro, along with some friends, did the workout as a way to honor Chad. Since then, CHAD1000X has become a rallying point for those struggling with mental health to join the community and focus on taking one more step.

“I talked about the workout at his funeral and underestimated all my CrossFit friends being in the audience — that they would flock to it and attempt to complete it, which they did,” Sara said in an interview at this year’s CrossFit Games. “It organically has grown in nature and we’re approaching our fourth year. Because of the response it’s had and what a positive impact it’s had on people, it led me to start my nonprofit, The Step Up Foundation.”

Veterans Day, 2023

This Veterans Day, we’re asking the CrossFit community to join us, GORUCK, and The Step Up Foundation in support of this important cause. Take on the challenge of CHAD1000X on Nov. 11, 2023, when the workout will be posted for the first time as an official Hero workout on CrossFit.com for Veterans Day.

The goal of this partnership between CrossFit, The Step Up Foundation, and GORUCK is to join in the fight against veteran suicide while emphasizing the importance of mental health for the general public — and the importance of fitness for mental health — as well.

“Suicide affects our veterans at an alarming rate,” Sara said. “But I think, … the everyday man is also not immune to that internal struggle, that silent whisper that feeds negative self-talk … . Fitness is great at developing us not only physically but mentally and emotionally, and it just makes such perfect sense to combine this with CrossFit and join the community so they can stand in this fight together.”

The workout is not technical and consists of one movement: 1,000 step-ups to a 20-inch box while wearing an external load. It can be done anywhere and is scalable to all fitness levels, but as with all of CrossFit’s Hero workouts, it is a long and challenging mental grind.

CrossFit, in collaboration with Castro, created a 10-week training program to help you prepare for the challenge. This program is free and is available now.

REGISTER now so you can receive your official CHAD1000X T-shirt and earn your patch on Veterans Day. All proceeds will go to support veteran mental health initiatives through The Step Up Foundation.  

Comments on CrossFit Community to Honor Chad Wilkinson, Raise Awareness of Veteran Suicide

4 Comments

Comment thread URL copied!
Back to 230906
David Taylor
September 7th, 2023 at 10:08 pm
Commented on: CrossFit Community to Honor Chad Wilkinson, Raise Awareness of Veteran Suicide

I hope you will edit the verbiage to say Chad died "from" suicide, vice "by" suicide. His brain was sick which caused his death; no different from a sick heart or cancer. One dies "from" cancer, not "by" cancer. One dies "from" a car accident, not "by" car accident. The argument is that no one in their "right" mind would do that to themselves, and their brain health led to this terrible outcome.


Blessings to Sara and kids and Wilkinson family.


Dave T.

M/64/5'8"/180

CAPT USN (Ret.)

(who had a little brother who died from suicide at the age of 47)

Comment URL copied!
Nizar Hawat
October 11th, 2023 at 5:36 am

i fully agree !

Comment URL copied!
Lorna Heyes
October 15th, 2023 at 12:03 pm

Great spot!!

Comment URL copied!
Dawn Hinckley
January 31st, 2024 at 9:13 pm

Agreed

Dawn

Retired AF Nurse Corps Major

Comment URL copied!