CrossFit Champion Sam Briggs : TRAIN, Manchester UK




There is hardly any wonder that CrossFit Champion Sam Briggs has chosen Manchester as her home and training ground. They both share the same characteristics and determined personalities.  

Although originally from Leeds ( a bit further North), Sam Briggs has been embraced into the loving arms of Manchester and she has been claimed as one of their own. 

In 2012, a restoration project was led by Dom Beardwell, a self claimed Crossfit Junkie. He designed and invested (along with 3 others, one being Sam Briggs) into “TRAIN” in the Castlefield area of the city. 

10,000 square feet of CrossFit heaven, also known as CrossFit Black Five. 

Since then, another “TRAIN” box has been added to the Manchester stable, at a purpose built facility just on the outskirts of the city. 


 photograph credits: Neil Shearer Photography


What’s in a name? 

The naming of their venture is not as simple as it looks on first glances, but is a carefully crafted throwback to the industrial era of Manchester. Referring to steam trains, the Train members are known as “Iron Horses” and wear this proudly on their t-shirts. T1 in Castlefield has the CrossFit affiliate name of Black Five, which is steam locomotive train first manufactured in 1934.


Steaming forwards to victory

You may recognise the timings of the TRAIN launch, for only a few months later, Sam Briggs was crowned Fittest Woman on Earth in 2013. 

 In a sport which at the time, was heavily dominated by athletes from the USA, this was a momentous and hugely significant turning point for the Crossfit Games. Now CrossFit had truly landed on the international scene and the growth across Europe accelerated.

photography credits to thecrossfitgames (instagram)



 Sam Briggs “The Engine” (instagram @bicepslikebriggs)

Sam Briggs’ journey to the top has been phenomenal. Originally from an endurance background, excelling at Triathlon, she has repeatedly shown her resilience and determination to maintain her position at the top. To operate at the top of any sporting field for 10 years is hardly ever seen. But with Crossfit being such a demanding, all year round sport, this is surely exceptional.

Sam’s performances over the last 10 years at the CrossFit Games have been staggeringly impressive. Achieving 6 Top 10 finishes so far, with 2013 being the year that she won title “The Fittest on Earth”. Also in 2013 Sam won 1st place on the English Olympic Lifting Championships (58kg).

It’s not hard to see why Sam Briggs has such a large, loyal following. She works hard, never gives up and is renowned for her ability to push through the pain barrier. In 2015 she competed at the Games with a broken foot! But her standout performance in the 2015 CrossFit Games, during the Murph WOD, stunned everyone worldwide. Despite operating in the 38 degree oppressive heat, when many athletes suffered extreme heat exhaustion, Sam finished 1st. A whole minute ahead of the next competitor. Her nickname “The Engine” couldn’t be a better fit.  


“Train”, the Box

But Train is not just for the elite competitive athlete (although there are several there). Like most CrossFit boxes around the world, the majority of members are “normal folk”. A younger demographic is usually found at T1 in Castlefield, probably due to the high numbers of young people living and working in Manchester City centre. There is a super cool vibe at T1 and a large chill out area where members recover before heading off into the city. 

At the second “Train” in Heald Green, you will find a wonderful selection of members, many of which are training as a family and bring their children to CrossFit kids on a Sunday morning. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to Head Coach Shelley Martin and I can see that she is just as enthusiastic about Crossfit today, as she was when she first started 6 years ago. The vibe at Train is quintessential Manchester…. warm, friendly and encouraging with a good amount of cheeky banter thrown in. This is a place which will look after you and keep your ego in check too!


There are loads of events throughout the year, bringing some new things for the members to try:

Just Row: 14th April

Outside the Box: 4th May; 22nd June; 10th Aug

Just Yoga: 19th May; 7th July; 28th May


The Rainhill Trials

If you’ve been around CrossFit in the North West of England, you are likely to have heard about the Rainhill Trials. It’s a large scale CrossFit competition usually held at Sport City next to the Manchester City Football Club. Its huge popularity means that entry is done by ballot and competitors are placed into one of four categories following completion of a series of seeding workouts / movements.

Here’s some interesting local history for you….

The Rainhill Trials were an important competition run in October 1829, to test George Stephenson's argument that locomotives would provide the best motive power for the then nearly-completed Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Five locomotives were entered, running along a 1 mile length of level track at Rainhill, in Lancashire. Stephenson’s Rocket was the only locomotive to complete the trials, and was declared the winner. 

The categories at the modern Rainhill Trials are “Wood, Rastrick, Rocket & Kennedy”. Named after the 1939 winning Rocket locomotive and three engineers, who were selected as judges: John Urpeth Rastrick, Nicholas Wood and John Kennedy,


Body Power Experience

This year there is an exciting addition to the Rainhill calendar….The Rainhill Trials will be going to the BodyPower Experience at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for three days of competition 10th - 12th May 2019. 

This is a HUGE event allowing 240 athletes to compete each day, which is an additional 720 athletes. This clearly demonstrates the popularity of the competition. Run with military timing precision, it is going to catapult The Rainhill Trials into the national competition calendar. 


The Future

2019 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for Sam Briggs. The first woman in 2019 to earn a place at the CrossFit Games with a dominant performance at the Dubai CrossFit Championship. Quickly followed by another Fabulous First at The Australian CrossFit Championship and she’s not stopping there. A whole season of competitions and qualifiers means that you have many opportunities to watch and support her. With an ever-growing variety of social media and online tv channels, you won’t have to book any flights, you can support Sam from your living room, wearing your “Engine” t-shirt. 

How to find Train

6 Arundel St, Manchester M15 4JZ

Phone: 0161 437 5080

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