“Harder, faster, better, stronger,” began the Black Eyed Peas workout anthem.
“Boom, Boom, Pow” July 9 as organizers broadcast the song to crowds on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk promptly at 4 p.m.
Suddenly, a mass of virtual strangers gathered and began a workout routine to the music.
With temperatures reaching 100 degrees, nearly 100 people gathered on the Boardwalk to lift faux barbells and do jumping jacks, squats and push ups among other activities as part of a flash mob workout to raise awareness about childhood obesity.
Organized by CrossFit Lewes, an unorthodox gym focused on customized, functional fitness, the spontaneous workout routine was actually months in the making, CrossFit head trainer Kris Carper said.
“Childhood obesity is very prevalent,” Carper said. “We want to promote fitness from ages 2 to 102.”
During the last of three official practices for the CrossFit flash mob on the morning of the event, she directed everyone to wear whatever they wanted and be inconspicuous among the throngs of summertime visitors on the Boardwalk, and at the close of the event, she directed participants on their next steps.
“At the end, just pretend like nothing happened,” Carper said, and directed members of the flash mob to meet at a watering hole on the Boardwalk.
“We had a feeling something was going on,” said Kim Slifer, a vacationer from Royersford, Pa., who witnessed the event. “We saw the people carrying sticks. Then the music started and one lady was just jogging, stopped and put her stuff down and joined right in.”
Some participants, like Jay Cameron Wingate, do not have memberships at CrossFit Lewes, but instead got involved through word-of-mouth and came out to support the cause.
“I was doing this as a favor for a friend,” Wingate said. “But I like kids, so I was also doing this one for the children.”
Far from spontaneous, the CrossFit flash mob had three camera crews positioned around the intended mob scene and a banner airplane drawing attention to the scene as the workout began on the Boardwalk.
After completing the flash mob workout routine, CrossFit member Allison Donohue was psyched from the performance.
“The whole CrossFit thing is awesome because it is so much a part of the community,” Donohue said. “The flash mob was just another way to connect with the community and take a stand against childhood obesity.”