Olympic Wrestlers Put Through Paces in Pittsfield

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Front Page / Dec. 3, 2009 3:23pm EST


Wrestlers from the US Olympic team spent four days this week doing some unorghodox training in the tiny town of Pittsfield, including splitting wood and running with a truck tire for five miles. (Herald / Tim Calabro)Wrestlers from the US Olympic team spent four days this week doing some unorghodox training in the tiny town of Pittsfield, including splitting wood and running with a truck tire for five miles. (Herald / Tim Calabro)Five members and hopefuls of the US Olympic Wrestling Team arrived Saturday in Pittsfield and immediately embarked on an arduous four-day set of activities designed to bring out their “killer instincts.”

They were not asked to wrestle each other, but instead to chop wood, climb mountains, do yoga stretches, swim and climb cliffs.

Pittsfield has come to be known as the “endurance capital of the world,” according to resident and uber-sport fanatic Joe Desena. It’s an ideal spot to cross-train, he explained this week.

In Pittsfield the three women and two men spent four days going through the now-infamous “Death Race” training camp that is putting Pittsfield on the world endurance map.

Andy Weinberg, who runs Peak Races and Peak Camps, spent six hours with the wrestlers on Sunday.

“They did yoga and chopped wood in Pittsfield and then they came to Middlebury. They ran with truck tires for five miles, then did a pool workout, then a gym workout and then they ran to dinner at the Waybury Inn. We had a great time and they worked super hard.”

“It was a great group,” said Desena. “Trainers know that their people sent to Peak in Pittsfield will be destroyed mentally and physically as part of a daily routine.”

Desena explained that participants were sleep, food- and water-deprived and worked non-stop.

“The reason? We had killer instincts as humans for thousands of years because we needed to survive daily,” he said. “We lost that over the last 100 years due to pillows, alarm clocks, Denny's, and Disney.”

The visit was organized by Noel Thompson, New York Athletic Club wrestling chairman.

Said Thompson: “By cross-training your mind you will continue to build the foundation you need mentally to achieve your goals of being an Olympic & World Champion.”

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