CrossFit Coal Honors Fallen Upper Big Branch Miners


A local gym paid tribute to the 29 men who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion of 2010. 

Dozens came out to CrossFit Coal gym in Mabscott on Saturday April, 1, 2017 to honor the fallen miners. 

Each drop of sweat was for more than just a successful series of box jumps and sit ups on this particular day.

“The 29” workout was held at CrossFit Coal in memory of the 29 coal miners who were killed in the UBB explosion. 

A choir of sniffles echoed each other, with few dry eyes in the room as Shannon Dickens, former UBB miner, spoke to people there about his fallen coal family.

“It’s tough to hold it together when you start thinking about the guys and you see their picture on the wall,” Dickens said. “It’s emotional. You can’t help but get emotional when you lose 29 people.”

“The 29” is four rounds of five different workouts to represent April 5, 2010, the date of the explosion. Every set required 29 reps for each man who died that day and moment of silence was held for the full 29th minute of the workout.

“It hits me really close because, you know, I worked there,” Dickens said. “There’s not a more important workout for me than this one.”

Chip Williams, CrossFit Coal co-owner, helped start up the gym three years ago. He said this has been an important tradition every year since opening. 

“It’s about keeping the people’s memories alive,” Williams said. “These men who passed away deserve to be recognized, they deserve to have their names spoken and they deserve to have their memories kept alive and the sacrifice remembered.”

The dozens of people who came together for this event bought shirts that say “Never Forget.” Proceeds will be donated to remember the miners. 

“This is a good event,” Dickens said. “And it’s ours. Coal country.”

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