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Northamptonshire’s Strongest Man 22nd June 2014 – Event Write-up

Northamptonshire’s Strongest Man 22nd June 2014 – Event Write-up

Posted on by PTS

By Ali Wilson

It seems to me that you don’t often find write-ups that cover both sides of the line for competitions. You get athlete’s write ups, and then you get official reports which try to be not too biased. Well here’s me, one of the organisers and promoters of the event who also competed in the Under 80kg weight class. So this write up will be my personal summary of the day, from all angles that I can document from.

The build up to the competition was good. We first set the date and events way back in November 2013, and it was a bold move as it was a very heavy event for the U80kg and U90kg classes. We had great success with U80kg events that were novice level, so we wanted to up the game as it were. I also wanted to take part in a comp that didn’t have me outweighed by every other athlete as it usually is in the U90kg scene. The U90kg scene seems to be a very popular option recently in other contests, but a lot of the time it’s actually made up of U80kg guys desperate for a competition! Despite the clearly advanced level of the events sign-ups were solid and before long we had over 15 paid up athletes in the U80kg alone! Fantastic! We also put on an U90kg advanced class and an Openweight Novice class to encourage lots of people to have a go as the weights were very doable. This was a very popular class, lots of really enthusiastic first timers chomping at the bit!

Training for this competition was one of those things for me that just didn’t seem to happen very much. I also compete in powerlifting and because I suck really badly at that I devote all the time I can to improving my static strength. Add to that my business of running the gym and training people all day and I usually don’t have the time to set up very much and train events. For this comp I decided to focus on the yoke, as it’s just horrible in general. So 6 weeks out from the competition I did one yoke run a week at the weight of 250kg. The first week was scary, managed to move about 1 metre. Week 2 I managed 5 metres. Week 3 I managed a full 20 metre length in 2 chunks. After that I was able to complete lengths without dropping it. Result! Leading up to the contest I thought I’d be ok, but then Shaun Vause put up a training video of him sprinting with a 250kg yoke, on what looked like the film set for Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom. Holy shitballs, looks like waddling won’t cut it!

One of the events we designed from scratch for this show was the ‘Lift & Load’. For the U80kg it consisted of an 80kg axle overhead, a 120kg t-bar load, a 44kg kettlebell overhead, an 80kg dumbbell load, a 70kg keg overhead and an 80kg sandbag load. I loved the look of this event, but due to things just generally going a bit wonky we only made the 70kg keg the Friday before the competition, so no practice for me! I had gone through the event with Faye to check the logistics of it, but that keg taunted me…

My first (and only) full run through of event practice for the competition came the Monday and Tuesday before the weekend, which might be a bit late but whatever. Up until this point I just felt totally unprepared and was absolutely pooing my pants about the event. However the little run through I did really helped get rid of the negative nerves and set me buzzing on a massive high! I knew I wasn’t going to win as the standard of guys who had signed up was too high for me, but I felt like I could do the events well and that was all I could really aim for. Powerlifting really helps with this mindset as all you can control is the weight you put on the bar and whether you lift it. Who turns up on the day often dictates your placing as much as performance.

We had already held the women’s contest on the Saturday so everything was set up and practised as a competition run through. I refereed and officiated on the Saturday and had a great time, and then making the video for that helped take my mind off the upcoming festival of death. Come Sunday morning and I was ready to weigh-in and get busy. I weighed-in at 78.2kg, which is the lightest I’ve been for a strength competition yet. People were rolling up to the gym nice and early to get done so they could eat, and we made sure everything was ready to roll.

As people came in I got talking to a few of the guys and totally forgot that I needed to warm up! Such is the way that it’s easy to get caught up in banter! Luckily I’m a very minimal ‘warmer-upper’, about 6-7 total reps of light deadlifts and I’m good to go. The first event was a nominated max trap bar deadlift. I generally much prefer straight bar deadlifting. I’m in the minority on this, but I’m just not comfortable without the bar on my shins. I chatted to a few of the guys about their lifts and before a single lift was done I guessed I would come 6th. This event had a 30 second time limit per lift, and anyone that watches me deadlift will see a very long set-up. I’m just not one of those ‘walk up and pull’ people. I tend to milk the time a bit and it seems to excite the crowd a bit more, but that’s not my intention! I just need to tick off my ‘list’ so I feel good about the lift and not hurting myself. My lifts were 180kg, 190kg, 200kg, 210kg and 220kg. I had already decided my lifts, I had no interest in playing games. Just getting a PB was enough for me, and with a previous best of 200kg on this lift, two PBs in a row, of which the 220kg was particularly easy was good enough for me! With hindsight being 20/20 I feel that on the day 230kg would have gone up if I had tried, but that’s the way it is! No points for what ifs. So anyway, this event went down like this:

Event 1: Max Trap Bar Deadlift

U80kg

1st. Shaun Vause 280kg

2nd. Rick Halliday 265kg

3rd. Graham Smith 250kg

4th. Liam Kilyon 222.5kg

5th. Joseph Cohen 220kg

6th. Ali Wilson 220kg

7th. Martin Murray 210kg

8th. Will Brown 207.5kg

9th Martin Horman 205kg

10th Richie Stannard 192.5kg

U90kg

1st. Thumpa Todd 300kg

2nd. Tyron Jones 265kg

3rd. Boyd Francis 260kg

Novice Openweight

1st. Mike Shrek Edwards 320kg

2nd. Martin Boyce 275kg

3rd. Graeme Primrose 275kg

4th. Jason Kearns 250kg

5th. Kamil Chloeva 247.5kg

6th. Jason Walker 240kg

7th. Jack Holman 235kg

8th. Ben Richmond 235kg

9th. Alexander Easby 230kg

10th. James Branscombe 205kg

11th. George Burke 195kg

12th. Chris Douglas 190kg

13th. Rob Dale 185kg

14th. Ben Gray 170kg

15th. Chris Brannon 170kg

Yes you read that right, a 280kg deadlift won the U80kg. Shaun weighs about 75kg, so that’s very near a 4 times bodyweight lift. Incredible! Perhaps more amazing is that Shaun had called for 260kg, and 280kg was loaded by accident. It’s one of those questions; would he have done it if he knew? To be fair though, probably as he’s a strong bastard! Also of special mention is ‘Anti-Gravity’ Martin Murray, who really struggled with 180kg, then failed 185kg before lifting it as a grind. He lifted 200kg like it was 100kg, then finished on the easiest 210kg lift I’ve seen. Helium filled plates perhaps?

You’ll also notice only three names in the U90kg. We had 6 down on the list as confirmed but that’s the way it is with this sort of stuff. It’s a real shame when athletes sign up and then no show. We do understand that things like life, injuries, nerves can all get the better of us in the build up to a competition, but at least let someone know you’re not coming! In this day and age of extreme communication there is no excuse. Anyway, back to the day!

One of problems of max events is that they take a long time. We decided to allow 5 lifts for this event as not everyone had a clear idea of what they could do. And while it was the longest event of the day, we still managed to get through nearly 30 athletes and all their lifts in under an hour and a half, which by my reckoning is good going! Faye on the mic is an amusing experience because she gives the appearance of being a bit ‘dizzy’, but that’s just a show. She is actually a whirl of unseen cogs and calculations, and the event going so smoothly is totally down to the amount of stress she puts on herself! However in the future we will probably limit this to three lifts regardless, as we don’t want the day to appear to stall.

The second event was the 250kg yoke. The novices had blazed through this event which made me feel the urge to go nice and fast. I helped act as buffer for these guys as some were going so fast there was some serious danger of holes in walls/people! The first U80kg guys going up couldn’t finish the course, which from an organiser’s point of view is heaven. The crowd will look at the yoke and just see an object. Without them coming up and giving it a go how do you relate it’s heavy as fuck? The guys going in first are generally the weaker guys (no offence guys!), so if they struggle and fail to finish it really relays to the crowd this is a serious feat. So when the upper tier guys come on and sprint with the thing, the crowd know they’re looking at something a bit special. Very entertaining! Will Brown put on one of the gutsiest attempts I’ve ever seen to move the yoke, with multiple hard pick-ups and staggers in a desperate attempt to cover as much ground as possible. I love watching Will compete, he brings everyone to their feet with his ‘heart on his sleeve’ approach to competing. The crowd love to get behind an underdog! My own yoke run felt good and steady, I managed it 13 secs which got me 4th place. The winning time was an outrageous 8 seconds by Rick Halliday! Just for comparison, Bill Pittuck (of World’s Strongest Man fame) used to hold the world record in the yoke and did this same event at our gym in 5 seconds. And he is a bit bigger than 80kg! The full results are:

Event 2: Yoke

U80kg: 250kg for 20 metres

1st. Rick Halliday 8.91 seconds

2nd. Shaun Vause 10 seconds

3rd. Graham Smith 10.31 seconds

4th. Ali Wilson 13.41 seconds

5th. Liam Kilyon 18.15 seconds

6th. Joseph Cohen 18.47 seconds

7th. Martin Horman 23.43 seconds

8th. Martin Murray 14.06 metres

9th. Will Brown 10.01 metres

10th. Richie Stannard 8.62 metres

U90kg: 300kg for 20 metres

1st. Thumpa Todd 12.69 seconds

2nd. Tyron Jones 14.53 seconds

3rd. Boyd Francis 26.81 seconds

Novice Openweight: 180kg for 2 x 20 metres (drop and turn)

1st. James Branscombe 14.84 seconds

2nd. Martin Boyce 15.03 seconds

3rd. Jack Holman 15.19 seconds

4th. Mike Shrek Edwards 15.87 seconds

5th. Rob Dale 16.65 seconds

6th. Kamil Chloeva 16.72 seconds

7th. Ben Richmond 17.72 seconds

8th. Ben Gray 18.16 seconds

9th. George Burke 18.78 seconds

10th. Jason Walker 18.97 seconds

11th. Alexander Easby 19.74 seconds

12th. Jason Kearns 20.5 seconds

13th. Graeme Primrose 21.22 seconds

14th. Chris Douglas 22.84 seconds

15th. Chris Brannon 36.79 seconds

Event 3 was the farmers walk. Just one length of 20m with 100kg each hand. I had practised this event a grand total of once and decided it was easy. While it was not difficult for me, I still only managed 5th with a time of 9.5 seconds. Shaun and Rick took 1st and 2nd with 7 second times. Maybe I need to practice my weighted sprinting more! Full results are:

Event 3: Farmers Walk

U80kg: 100kg each hand for 20 metres

1st. Shaun Vause 7.06 seconds

2nd. Graham Smith 7.18 seconds

3rd. Rick Halliday 7.56 seconds

4th. Joseph Cohen 9.44 seconds

5th. Ali Wilson 9.5 seconds

6th. Liam Kilyon 11.54 seconds

7th. Martin Horman 13.15 seconds

8th. Will Brown 13.53 seconds

9th. Martin Murray 14.59 seconds

10th. Richie Stannard 0 metres

U90kg: 110kg each hand for 20 metres

1st. Thump Todd 7.37 seconds

2nd. Tyron Jones 9.04 seconds

3rd. Boyd Francis 10.4 seconds

Novice Openweight: 80kg each hand for 2 x 20 metres (drop and turn)

1st. Kamil Chloeva 12.63 seconds

2nd. James Branscombe 13.47 seconds

3rd. Martin Boyce 13.72 seconds

4th. Jack Holman 15 seconds

5th. Mike Shrek Edwards 16.31 seconds

6th. Jason Kearns 16.65 seconds

7th. Jason Walker 16.96 seconds

8th. George Burke 17.06 seconds

9th. Alexaner Easby 17.09 seconds

10th. Graeme Primrose 17.21 seconds

11th. Rob Dale 18.53 seconds

12th. Ben Gray 19.19 seconds

13th. Chris Douglas 19.62 seconds

14th. Ben Richmond 20.72 seconds

15th. Chris Brannon 22.4 seconds

By this point I had my focus for the competition; beat Joseph Cohen and Liam Kilyon. We were exchanging points back and forth and coming real close on events. The top three guys seemed too far in front to worry about, but the ‘middle tier’ of the competition was incredibly close and good fuel for motivation.

Event 4 was the rope pull into sled drag. Despite it being a 200kg load, I was really confident of this event. I used to suck at rope pulling until Faye corrected my technique, now I’ve made it my own. My rope pull was good as I had expected, but the drag back was slow and lethargic. My legs just didn’t move very far. With Liam Kilyon catching me up I just did the trademark ‘Sacrifice Bum Drop’ to cross the line and just managed to secure 1st place with a 28 second time. An event win! Someone pointed out to me that Shaun was doing this event in his socks… I had to double take. Full results were as follows:

Event 4: Rope Pull into Sled Drag

U80kg: 200kg over 10 metres (there and back)

1st. Ali Wilson 28.12 seconds

2nd. Joseph Cohen 28.66 seconds

3rd. Liam Kilyon 29.16 seconds

4th. Graham Smith 29.44 seconds

5th. Rick Halliday 33.07 seconds

6th. Martin Murray 33.75 seconds

7th. Richie Stannard 35.84 seconds

8th. Martin Horman 38.91 seconds

9th. Will Brown 39.31 seconds

10th. Shaun Vause 41.25 seconds

U90kg: 250kg over 10 metres

1st. Tyron Jones 32.94 seconds

2nd. Thumpa Todd 38.31 seconds

3rd. Boyd Francis 44.31 seconds

Novice Openweight: 150kg over 20 metres (there and back)

1st. Rob Dale 30.38 seconds

2nd. Kamil Chloeva 31.09 seconds

3rd. Alexander Easby 35.32 seconds

4th. Martin Boyce 35.37 seconds

5th. James Branscombe 37.12 seconds

6th. Ben Gray 40.06 seconds

7th. George Burke 42.03 seconds

8th. Jason Walker 42.22 seconds

9th. Graeme Primrose 42.4 seconds

10th. Chris Brannon 43.46 seconds

11th. Chris Douglas 43.53 seconds

12th. Mike Shrek Edwards 46 seconds

13th. Ben Richmond 46.34 seconds

14th. Jack Holman 46.63 seconds

15th. Jason Kearns 50.72 seconds

The battle for 4th place was on! Me, Joseph and Liam getting top three in this event with such close times was a nice bit of drama!

Event 5 was the ‘Lift & Load’. Martin Horman drew gasps from the crowd with his entertaining display of catching kettlebells on his face (Don’t worry he was ok!) which set a nice tone for the event. Watching guys go up and struggle with pretty much every implement, I was confident I could finish. I stood by the axle, got the ‘Go’ command and cleaned the 80kg axle… Cramp. My right arm locked in position; I couldn’t extend it to press the weight. I dropped the axle and panicked. I cleaned it again and then just forced the fucker overhead in the grindiest manner possible. The t-bar, kettlebell and dumbbell all went up no problem, but the keg…. Again, right arm did not want to play. After several attempts I managed to get the keg going up, locked out my left arm, and was slowly straightening my cramped up right arm when I heard the call of ‘Time’. I nearly passed out at this point but luckily the keg wasn’t too much over my head! I still managed to come 5th in this event being the fastest of those that didn’t finish. But still, I was gutted I didn’t get all six items. Stupid cramp!

Event 5 for the novices was a bit more standard, it was a choice of 90kg axle, 75kg log and 60kg log for points in 60 seconds. We did it like this so that everyone regardless of size could score some points. The results for event 5 were:

Event 5: Overhead

U80kg: Lift & Load 80kg axle, 120kg T-bar, 44kg kettlebell, 80kg dumbbell, 70kg keg, 80kg sandbag

1st. Shaun Vause 29.03 seconds

2nd. Graham Smith 38.74 seconds

3rd. Rick Halliday 53.37 seconds

4th. Joseph Cohen 1 minute 4.64 seconds

5th. Ali Wilson 4 items in 45.21 seconds

6th. Liam Kilyon 4 items in 45.87 seconds

7th. Will Brown 4 items in 1 minute 2.58 seconds

8th. Martin Murray 4 items in 1 minute 21.90 seconds

9th. Martin Horman 2 items in 19.36 seconds

10th. Richie Stannard 0 items

U90kg: Lift & Load 90kg axle, 140kg T-bar, 48kg kettlebell, 90kg dumbbell, 80kg keg, 100kg sandbag

1st. Tyron Jones 35.08 seconds

2nd Thumpa Todd 1 minute 7.58 seconds

3rd. Boyd Francis 4 items in 41.83 seconds

Novice Openweight: 90kg axle 3 points, 75kg log 2 points, 60kg log 1 point in 60 seconds

1st. Kamil Chloeva 27 points

2nd. Alexander Easby 18 points

3rd. Martin Boyce 17 points

4th. Mike Edwards 17 points

5th. Rob dale 15 points

6th. Jack Holman 14 points

7th. Ben Gray 12 points

8th. Chris Brannon 10 points

9th. Graeme Primrose 9 points

10th. George Burke 8 points

11th. Chris Douglas 6 points

12th. James Branscombe 6 points

13th. Jason Walker 6 points

14th. Jason Kearns 4 points

15th. Ben Richmond 2 points

Event 6 and time for the 7.5 tonne lorry pull! A lovely sunny day to pull a heavy thing outside. John Greensmith leant me his rock climbing shoes, and I was ready to go! I did have a small distraction though, as on Friday I incurred the wrath of an incredibly painful in growing toenail on the big toe of my left foot. Exactly what you need two days before a truck pull! When I put the shoes on it was excruciating, but the logical part of my brain reasoned that the lorry pull will hurt less now because some of my pain centre is taken up by my toe, so probably a good thing! I watched the first guys go up and get about 3 metres of the 10 metre course… Shit looks hard! I was determined to finish the course, I was tied for points in joint 4th place with Joseph Cohen at this point, so I needed to pressure him with a good pull. As the event started it went well, the lorry moved smoothly and I gathered some momentum. It kept chugging until about half a metre from the line! It stopped dead and my arms and legs were just empty. I heard someone scream “ONE MORE FOOT!” and so I just dug in, held on and moved the only bit of my body I could; my hips. I did two maximum effort hip thrusts against the belt of the harness and the truck crossed the line. That’s right, I’m a 7.5 tonne mothertruckerfucker. Next up was Joseph, I kept an eye on the stopwatch and his time looked fast, really fast. About a metre from the end his pull stalled and he ran out of time. At the end of the day I was the only one to finish the course and so not only beat Joseph but got another event win. Happy days!

Event 6 for the novices was a 180kg tyre flip for 60 seconds. The final event places looked like this:

Event 6: Lorry Pull/Tyre Flip

U80kg: 7.5 tonne lorry pull with rope and harness for 10 metres

1st. Ali Wilson 53.59 seconds

2nd. Rick Halliday 9.17 metres

3rd. Joseph Cohen 8.91 metres

4th. Graham Smith 8.90 metres

5th. Shaun Vause 5.72 metres

6th. Martin Horman 5.65 metres

7th. Liam Kilyon 4.67 metres

8th. Martin Murray 4.40 metres

9th. Richie Stannard 3.15 metres

10th. Will Brown 3.07 metres

U90kg: 7.5 tonne lorry pull with rope and harness for 10 metres

1st. Tyron Jones 41.03 seconds

2nd. Thumpa Todd 46.94 seconds

3rd. Boyd Francis 8.97 metres

Novice Openweight: 180kg tyre flips in 60 seconds

1st. Kamil Chloeva 22 flips

2nd. Martin Boyce 21 flips

3rd. James Branscombe 19 flips

4th. Alexander Easby 19 flips

5th. Rob Dale 19 flips

6th. George Burke 16 flips

7th. Ben Gray 16 flips

8th. Jason Kearns 16 flips

9th. Ben Richmond 16 flips

10th. Mike Edwards 16 flips

11th. Chris Brannon 15 flips

12th. Graeme Primrose 15 flips

13th. Chris Douglas 14 flips

14th. Jason Walker 14 flips

15th. Jack Holman 13 flips

After this event the top two novices Martin Boyce and Kamil Chloeva were tied for top spot. Now a lot of comps just do some sort of point count decider or something equally lame, but at PTS we like to do tie break events. So we decided as we had it set up that they could pull the lorry for the final position. Kamil blew this out of the water with a 20 second pull and took the final event in style!

After the lorry pull we were in the position of the top two U90kg guys Thumpa Todd and Tyron Jones being in tied first place. We decided to do a little crucifix hold, although at first Thumpa just wanted to settle for 2nd and rest, then he had some food and wanted to do it! Ha, can’t count people out, even after they quit! Tyron ended up taking the win, but I’m glad we got to see an actual fight for it!

So at this point at the end of the day I knew I was in 4th, I had over performed in just about everything except the stupid lift & load, and it had been a fantastic day. The atmosphere had been electric all day, people supporting each other, congratulating each other, helping each other, just what you want out of a sporting event! The amount of people that told us we had run a fantastic event was enough to make me a bit emotional, as the stress going in and during is pretty epic. To see everyone so happy and fucked at the same time makes the stress totally worthwhile!

I went over to Faye for the final presentation of the top three place medals in each class and looked at the final points… Imagine my surprise that I was just 2 points behind 3rd! Things ended up being much closer than I had realised, which gave me a further boost! The final points looked like this:

FINAL PLACINGS:

U80kg:

1st. Rick Halliday 50 points

2nd. Graham Smith 48 points

3rd. Shaun Vause 46 points

4th. Ali Wilson 44 points

5th. Joseph Cohen 42 points

6th. Liam Kilyon 35 points

7th. Martin Murray 20 points

7th. Martin Horman 20 points

9th. Will Brown 15 points

10th. Richie Stannard 8 points

U90kg:

1st. Tyron Jones 15 points + winner of tie breaker

2nd. Thumpa Todd 15 points

3rd. Boyd Francis 6 points

Novice Openweight:

1st. Kamil Chloeva 80 points + winner of tie breaker

2nd. Martin Boyce 80 points

3rd. James Branscombe 63 points

4th Mike Edwards 60 points

5th. Alexander Easby 58 points

6th. Rob Dale 56 points

7th. Jack Holman 47 points

8th. George Burke 45 points

9th. Ben Gray 42 points

10th. Graeme Primrose 40 points

11th. Jason Walker 38 points

12th. Jason Kearns 37 points

13th. Ben Richmond 30 points

14th. Chris Douglas 22 points

14th. Chris Brannon 22 points

An absolutely fantastic competition with some incredibly heart felt performances! Excitement, drama and a very close finish in all three classes meant that it was not a done deal for anyone until the last event! The PTS lads that competed did themselves proud, with George Burke and Rob Dale doing well for their first strongman competition. George weighed in at a whopping 77kg and so was the lightest in the openweights by some margin, and yet still ended up beating some of the larger guys! Not bad for a guy already in his 40s! Mike ‘Shrek’ Edwards had set his sights on first place, so felt disappointed with fourth, but as I pointed out to him, it was the first competition he had managed to finish all the way through! You have to take your achievements when you can, especially in a sport as demanding as strongman! As a promoter I couldn’t ask for more out of all the people that were involved for this day, the athletes gave it everything, the helpers, loaders, referees were all fantastic and the spectators seemed really appreciative of the amazing show put on! I’m going to list the people that helped the day go so well, so if you see them about you can give them some love:

-Faye Jordan

-Nina Cambatta

-Samantha Cox

-Pj Gentle

-Claire Haynes

-John Greensmith

-Ryan Charlton

-Richard Chapple

-Hannah Chapple

-Liesha Jones

I also wanted to thank Tyron Jones’ son Regan for being Ellia’s (my 2 year old daughter) best friend for the day, which helped considerably! A funny moment from the day and a good reminder that you just can’t get away from your kids is when Ellia came into the gym in front of the entire crowd and handed me a potty full of her finest wee! She’s a good girl and got a large round of applause for her efforts!

So now the aftermath of an event like this is what next…. Well now we’re planning to take the U80kg scene up a notch, with us hosting England’s Strongest Man u80kg on June 21st 2015! That will be epic…

Stay tuned folks!