Athlete Spotlight – Kari Ellis

This athlete spotlight highlights one of our long-time CrossFit Sandy members – Kari Ellis!

When she’s not flying around the country as a pilot, we’re extremely lucky to have her in the 9am classes where she always gives 100%!

Nickname? Kari Pilot

Age? 40

When did you start CrossFit and where?

I think it was 2011 (I should be much better by now!), and I started at Crossfit Sandy

What is your CrossFit “Superpower!”?

Double Unders

What is your favorite CrossFit movement? It doesn’t have to be the one you are best at! Why?

Wall balls, maybe because I have long arms? For me, it’s one of those movements that’s more mental than physical, it doesn’t take much skill, you just have to keep going…

What is your least favorite CrossFit movement?

Either OHS or Snatches. Once that bar is overhead it is really hard for me to stay stable and get full depth. I think it is one of those things I’ve avoided because I don’t like it, so I haven’t gotten much better.

Are there high points in your training or big accomplishments you would like to share?

Getting that first strict pull up!

Are there other members who have had a significant impact on your time at CrossFit Sandy that you would like to share?

Adriana was my partner in crime when I first started and at that time kept me coming back. I also really enjoy working out with 9am-ers. Even though some have changed throughout my time at Crossfit Sandy, it’s always a great group. Truly though, Bethanie is the one who has kept me at Crossfit Sandy so long. Sometimes because of my schedule I only make it once a week or a few times a month, but she always welcomes me back! And since I’ve been at this a while is it amazing to see what Bethanie has done with the gym. It just keeps getting better and better.


What is your favorite Hero WOD? Girl WOD? Other Benchmark or custom WOD that Bethanie programmed?

Annie was my first RX WOD–so I like her. My favorite Hero WOD is Murph. It’s a grinder and I have yet to complete it RX and I even missed it this year, but it has a special place in my heart. I was on active duty during the time frame when the events around why the Murph WOD was created were taking place.

I was flying C-17s (heavy transport) and I brought many heroes home from both Afghanistan and Iraq. Some I brought back to be reunited with their families, others I brought back in flag draped coffins.

So when I think I can’t do one more rep I try to think about the reason behind the WOD, all the Hero WODs and it helps to keep me going.

Did you enjoy the extra-curricular activities at the gym? 

One that I recently enjoyed was the row-a-thon. It was great to see a community come together like that for one of our own.

Do you have any pieces of wisdom for new members?

I think just keep showing up. Even if life happens and you miss a few days, a week, just get to the box when you can. When you leave after a WOD you’ll be so happy you did!

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

What sports or activities do you participate in outside the box?

Sometimes I pretend like I’m a runner. I’ve done a couple Ragnars and 5ks. My daughter has now expressed interested in running (after the Crossfit Sandy Turkey Trot!) and we’ve done a few 5ks together. I also enjoy anything on the water. We have family kayaks and try to get out when we can.

A few more interesting facts about Kari:
My husband Mark and I have been married for 16 years and have two great kids, Lily (11) and Lincoln (10). We all really enjoy traveling. We also have two crazy labradoodles. I’m originally from West Virginia. I went to the Air Force Academy and served 8 ½ years on active duty flying C-17s. I ended up in Utah after leaving active duty and getting hired by Delta Airlines. I’m still in the Air Force Reserves as an Admissions Liaison Officer for the Air Force Academy and at the beginning of June I was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel!


You must be logged in to post a comment.