ST. CLOUD -- An elite fitness competition is taking over the St. Cloud State University campus this weekend. The 9th annual Granite Games championships got underway at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on Thursday night.

The opening event was the pro-level clean ladder where competitors raced while lifting gradually increasing weights.

Ron Ortiz is a masters athlete competing in the games. He says he got started 11 years ago when the physicality of his job as a firefighter started to catch up with him.

If I was going to stay healthy and break through a lot of the ailments that tend to grab onto firefighters along the way I had to do something that was going to either make me healthier and make me feel better or find a magic medicine. So, CrossFit was really that magic medicine.

In addition to the ladder, there are a variety of other lifting, pulling, carrying, and running events happening. Ortiz says the many events are designed to get every muscle group involved.

They hit every week point. You're not going to not find out what your goat is.

The championships continue Friday and run through Sunday in various buildings on the St. Cloud State campus. Over 1,500 athletes ranging in age from their teens to their 60s are competing.

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