Britain’s Strongest Woman 2015 Report and Full Video
This event was held at our gym Progressive Training Systems in Northampton on the Saturday 20th June 2015. It’s the second year we’ve held Britain’s Strongest Woman, and NO I’m not going to go into the little bit of history surrounding it, that’s a story for another time!
Because it’s the biggest strongwoman event and title in the whole country we decided to make this event tough. Nice and heavy! If you’re entering a national level competition then you can expect to be tested by the events alone, let alone the other athletes.
We decided on 5 events; A max log overhead lift, a deadlift medley, a yoke carry, a carry medley and an arm over arm rope pull. We wanted to get a max log in there to see if we could get some numbers set as a national record. I did some looking around and asked some people and it is incredibly hard to find any information on British strongwoman records! The lack of any central organisation or federation means it’s all a bit wild west, so can we call the lifts achieved in the competition a record? I still don’t know!
Deadlift medleys are great fun to watch and you can get some interesting variations on these. We went for a series of 4 lifts that got heavier in weight but also changed in leverage to challenge the athletes. We wanted to do a really heavy yoke run for just a single length, because heavy yokes are grim and entertaining. We came up with a nice little medley of items to carry with strongman classics of farmers walk, kegs and sandbags. And then a bit of vehicle action to finish the day off, an arm over arm rope pull of a 3.5 tonne van and then push it back to the start.
When we ran Britain’s Strongest Woman in 2014 it was an open competition, meaning anyone could enter. However for the 2015 event we wanted to try and get all the strongest and best performing ladies together and so tried to keep an eye on the competitive scene and then give out invitations to the ladies we felt should be present. We invited a whole bunch of strong ladies but as is the way not all of them could compete. Our event clashed with the IPF World Powerlifting Championships which was unfortunate as we’re very friendly to powerlifting and have had some great powerlifting talent compete in our strongman/woman competitions. Other ladies had either retired or sustained long term injuries, so after the invitations had gone out and there was a phase for them to enter we decided to have a nomination phase for athletes that we had missed out or were unaware of. After the nomination phase we then opened up any remaining spots to anyone to enter, sometimes champions are unaware themselves of their potential! This filter process worked well so we’ll be adopting it again for the 2016 competition.
We also wanted to up the game a bit and give prize money this year. We secured a couple of sponsors (Ali Crooks of the Traders Support Club and Mark Curley of the Due Diligence Exchange) and offered £100 for first place and £50 for second and third places in each class. Nothing massive, but it’s a start. Strongwoman feels quite neglected in the UK and we want to try and show that it should be up there and celebrated properly! But it’s such early days for us that we’re happy with the small progress we’re making. We also got some prize sponsorship from Ben Smith of Big Ben Products with a bottle of his liquid pink coloured chalk for each winner.
We also hired Les Wiltshire to MC the day. We’ve used Les before and he’s MC’ed at competitions we’ve competed at and we’ve always loved his style of presenting and he works well with us so it was good to have him on board to help get the crowd and the athletes going!
The first event on the day was the max log. Because we wanted the athletes to lift the most amount of weight they could we went for nominated weights, powerlifting style. Three rounds so each athlete got roughly the same amount of rest. Max lift events in strongman competitions tend to have a bit of bad reputation for being long, drawn out and a bit boring, but if your platform crew are on it then it doesn’t need to be this way!
We had had a few of the athletes coming down in the previous weeks building up to the competition so I had a good idea of what to expect from the field in general. Also seeing videos of Donna Moore repping a 90kg log from the shoulders on Facebook meant that things looked serious!
We are fairly strict on our rulings for lifts, we like everyone to be on the same page. We were allowing 30 seconds per attempt to get a ‘Down’ command that signified a good clean lockout of the log overhead, with as many attempts as you could summon if needed in that 30 seconds.
One of the best things about a max lift event is when an athlete doesn’t get a lift, and then attempts it again on their second or third go and triumphs! Just one of the most exhilarating spectacles in strength sports, and the ladies didn’t disappoint!
Event 1 Results: Positions and points after 1 event:
1st: Katarina Helcmanovska = 60kg 1st place 10 points
Katherine Bartlett = 60kg 1st place 10 points
Nina Cambatta = 60kg 1st place 10 points
4th: Katrina Howes = 57.5kg 4th Place 8 points
5th: Brooke Murray = 55kg 5th place 6.5 points
Helen Hughes = 55kg 5th place 6.5 points
7th: Kiersty Sims = 52.5kg 7th place 4 points
Samantha Pollock = 52.5kg 7th place 4 points
Sumayyah Shalchi = 52.5kg 7th place 4 points
10th: Joanna Montgomery = 50kg 10th place 2 points
11th: Amanda Gisby = 42.5kg 11th place 1 points
1st: Jenny Todd = 80kg 1st place 5 points
2nd: Anna-Maria Ronnqvist = 72.5kg 2nd place 4 points
3rd: Ruta Lendraitiene = 70kg 3rd place 3 points
4th: Precious Collins = 65kg 4th place 2 points
5th: Nadia Cole = 52.5kg 5th place 1 point
Guest: Hannah Ingram = 60kg Guest 0 points
1st: Donna Moore = 92.5kg 1st place 5 points
2nd: Julie Rider = 90kg 2nd place 4 points
3rd: Karen Sutherland = 85kg 3rd place 3 points
4th: Andrea Thompson = 75kg 4th place 2 points
5th: Jenn Tibbenham = 57.5kg 5th place 1 point
The second event was the deadlift medley. This consisted of 4 lifts that needed to be completed as quickly as possible, with 60 second time limit. The first lift was on an axle bar from the floor, the second was a normal Olympic bar from the floor, the third was a trap bar with a 12 inch height pick up and the final lift was an Olympic bar but from a 15 inch pick up. Each lift was heavier than the last, to test the pulling power of each athlete! This was a great event to watch, very exciting and a clear way for the crowd to see who was doing well! The sequence of weights were as follows: U63kg lifted 120kg, 130kg, 140kg and 150kg, U75kg lifted 135kg, 145kg, 155kg and 165kg, and the opens lifted 150kg, 160kg, 170kg and 180kg.
Brooke Murray in the U63kg category showed incredible heart and determination in getting the second lift, ‘don’t give up’ applies to this girl! Jenn Tibbenham when she completed the medley performed multiple victory laps around the gym, clearly quite pleased! Nina Cambatta was looking for this event to be one her best with her being one of the strongest deadlifters in the country at her weight, and she was about to score to within half a second of the leader Katherine Bartlett when disaster struck… Locking out the final lift she lost balance and fell! Then, just to rub some extra salt in the wound, when she lifted the bar again she dropped it in disgust and therefore disqualified her final lift! Whoops….
Event 2 Results: Positions and points after 2 events:
1st: Katherine Bartlett = 15.03 seconds 1st place 21 points
2nd: Katrina Howes = 21.68 seconds 2nd place 18 points
3rd: Sumayyah Shalchi = 21.84 seconds 6th place 13 points
4th: Katarina Helcmanovska = 22.34 seconds 2nd place 18 points
5th: Helen Hughes = 24.31 seconds 4th place 13.5 points
6th: Amanda Gisby = 29.63 seconds 9th place 7 points
7th: Samantha Pollock = 30.44 seconds 8th place 9 points
8th: Brooke Murray = 3 lifts 7th place 10 points
Nina Cambatta = 3 lifts 4th place 13.5 points
10th: Joanna Montgomery = 1 lift 11th place 3.5 points
10th: Kiersty Sims = 1 lift 10th place 5.5 points
1st: Nadia Cole = 21.69 seconds 2nd place 6 points
2nd: Jenny Todd = 21.78 seconds 1st place 9 points
3rd: Precious Collins = 2 lifts 5th place 4.5 points
4th: Ruta Lendraitiene = 2 lifts 4th place 5.5 points
5th: Anna-Maria Ronnqvist = 1 lift 3rd place 5 points
Guest: Hannah Ingram = 23 seconds Guest 0 points
1st: Donna Moore = 14.44 seconds 1st place 10 points
2nd: Julie Rider = 19.06 seconds 2nd place 8 points
3rd: Karen Sutherland = 21.66 seconds 3rd place 6 points
4th: Andrea Thompson = 22.84 seconds 4th place 4 points
5th: Jenn Tibbenham = 37.06 seconds 5th place 2 points
Ah, event 3. The really heavy yoke! With it being just one length with no turn the athletes could just concentrate on getting their feet right and going for it! The U63kg ladies had to handle 180kg, the U75kg ladies had 210kg and the opens got a lovely 240kg! Julie Rider was one to watch for this event, when she competed in World’s Strongest Woman back in 2003 she absolutely smashed the yoke event then, so this looked like her event! True to form she utterly smashed it! The looks on some of the spectator’s faces were priceless!
Event 3 Results: Positions and points after 3 events:
1st: Kiersty Sims = 16.53 seconds 7th place 16.5 points
2nd: Samantha Pollock = 16.91 seconds 5th place 19 points
3rd: Katherine Bartlett = 18.13 seconds 1st place 30 points
4th: Helen Hughes = 20.22 seconds 3rd place 21.5 points
5th: Sumayyah Shalchi = 22.93 seconds 4th place 20 points
6th: Katrina Howes = 23.22 seconds 2nd place 24 points
7th: Brooke Murray = 23.72 seconds 9th place 15 points
8th: Joanna Montgomery = 24.75 seconds 11th place 7.5 points
9th: Nina Cambatta = 27.63 seconds 7th place 16.5 points
10th: Amanda Gisby = 33 seconds 10th place 9 points
11th: Katarina Helcmanovska = 6.68 metres 5th place 19 points
1st: Precious Collins = 16.63 seconds 3rd place 9.5 points
2nd: Jenny Todd = 29.56 seconds 1st place 13 points
3rd: Anna-Maria Ronnqvist = 31.03 seconds 4th place 8 points
4th: Ruta Lendraitiene = 9.55 metres 5th place 7.5 points
5th: Nadia Cole = 6.43 metres 2nd place 11 points MISTAKE
Guest: Hannah Ingram = 3.64 metres Guest 0 points
1st: Julie Rider = 9.53 seconds 2nd place 13 points
2nd: Donna Moore = 13.65 seconds 1st place 14 points
3rd: Andrea Thompson = 16.47 seconds 4th place 7 points
4th: Karen Sutherland = 17.75 seconds 3rd place 8 points
5th: Jenn Tibbenham = 10.15 metres 5th place 3 points
You might notice we have written MISTAKE next to Nadia Cole’s score after the yoke. This is because we accidently gave her 5 points instead of 1 point. Yes, this is a big mistake and we can only apologise. We have sorted out with the athletes affected, we were the ones to notice our own mistake and immediately took steps to remedy the situation, but we only noticed once the competition was over. Honesty and transparency are more important to us than pretending we’re perfect!
Event 4 was a really fun event in my eyes. A carry medley over a fairly short distance of 10 metres of a farmers walk, a keg carry and then a sandbag carry to finish. With the items being so different to grip it was a tactical nightmare for a lot of the girls as to how to deal with each awkward implement. This event was also the first event in Donna Moore’s competitive history that she couldn’t finish in the time limit, so that was a proud moment for us! The implement weights were 75kg each hand farmers, a 70kg keg and a 60kg sandbag for the U63kg, 85kg per hand farmers, an 80kg keg and a 80kg sandbag for the U75kg and the opens had to deal with 95kg each hand farmers, a 90kg keg and a whopping 100kg sandbag!
Event 4 Results: Positions and points after 4 events:
1st: Katherine Bartlett = 31.38 seconds 1st place 41 points
2nd: Sumayyah Shalchi = 32.81 seconds 3rd place 30 points
3rd: Katrina Howes = 33.47 seconds 2nd place 33 points
4th: Samantha Pollock = 40.03 seconds 5th place 27 points
5th: Nina Cambatta = 40.78 seconds 6th place 23.5 points
6th: Helen Hughes = 43.57 seconds 4th place 27.5 points
7th: Kiersty Sims = 45.56 seconds 7th place 21.5 points
8th: Brooke Murray = 46.82 seconds 8th place 19 points
9th: Amanda Gisby = 4.01 metres 10th place 12 points
DNS: Joanna Montgomery = 0 metres 11th place 7.5 points
DNS: Katarina Helcmanovska = 0 metres 8th place 19 points
1st: Jenny Todd = 38.31 seconds 1st place 18 points
2nd: Anna-Maria Ronnqvist = 45.72 seconds 3rd place 12 points
3rd: Nadia Cole = 1 item + 7.84 metres 2nd place 14 points MISTAKE
4th: Precious Collins = 0.5 metres 4th place 11.5 points
DNS: Ruta Lendraitiene = 0 metres 5th place 7.5 points
Guest: Hannah Ingram = 0 metres Guest 0 points
1st: Donna Moore = 2 items + 8.28 metres 1st place 19 points
2nd: Julie Rider = 2 items + 3.8 metres 2nd place 17 points
3rd: Andrea Thompson = 2 items + 1.2 metres 3rd place 10 points
4th: Karen Sutherland = 2 items 3rd place 10 points
DNS: Jenn Tibbenham = 0 metres 5th place 3 points
Event 5 was SUPPOSED to be the rope pull on the van. The vehicles for the weekend had been kindly loaned to us from the Brackmills MOT Centre, so it was ready to be pulled. It was the 20th of June, middle of summer, blazing hot…. And pouring with torrential rain the entire day! Fuck you Mother Nature! Luckily we have a large indoor area with turf so we just held the arm over arm on prowlers instead. We loaded them up nice and heavy with the U63kg having 120kg loaded on, the U75kg with 140kg loaded on and the opens with 160kg! Lovely!
This event as a finisher was an absolute killer! Hardly any of the athletes walked away when they completed the course, more a case of rolling out of the way for the next competitor! Katherine Bartlett in the U63kg class was obviously wishing for a bit of drama in her otherwise dominant display, as when she was finishing the course her shoes came off! She then proceeded to remove two pairs of socks and still managed to get the prowler over the line under the time limit!
Event 5 Results: Positions and points after 5 events:
1st: Nina Cambatta = 49.68 seconds 5th place 34.5 points
2nd: Sumayyah Shalchi = 54.03 seconds 3rd place 40 points
3rd: Samantha Pollock = 54.38 seconds 4th place 36 points
4th: Katrina Howes = 54.56 seconds 2nd place 41 points
5th: Brooke Murray = 57.16 seconds 8th place 26 points
6th: Katarina Helcmanovska = 1.01.00 seconds 9th place 25 points
7th: Kiersty Sims = 1.06.85 seconds 7th place 26.5 points
8th: Katherine Bartlett = 1.12.75 seconds 1st place 45 points
9th: Helen Hughes = pull + 7.9 metres 6th place 30.5 points
10th: Amanda Gisby = pull + 4.93 metres 10th place 14 points
11th: Joanna Montgomery = pull + 1.56 metres 11th place 8.5 points
1st: Anna-Maria Ronnqvist = 44.97 seconds 2nd place 17 points
2nd: Jenny Todd = 45.68 seconds 1st place 22 points
3rd: Ruta Lendraitiene = 1.05.44 seconds 5th place 10.5 points
4th: Nadia Cole = pull + 11.7 metres 3rd place 16 points MISTAKE
5th: Precious Collins = pull + 8 metres 4th place 12.5 points
DNS: Hannah Ingram = 0 metres Guest 0 points
1st: Donna Moore = 47.75 seconds 1st place 24 points
2nd: Julie Rider = 51.32 seconds 2nd place 21 points
3rd: Andrea Thompson = 55.60 seconds 3rd place 13 points
4th: Karen Sutherland = 58.22 seconds 4th place 12 points
5th: Jenn Tibbenham = pull + 5.99 metres 5th place 4 points
U63kg final placings and points:
1st: Katherine Bartlett 45 points
2nd: Katrina Howes 41 points
3rd: Sumayyah Shalchi 40 points
4th: Samantha Pollock 36 points
5th: Nina Cambatta 34.5 points
6th: Helen Hughes 30.5 points
7th: Kiersty Sims 26.5 points
8th: Brooke Murray 26 points
9th: Katarina Helcmanovska 25 points
10th: Amanda Gisby 14 points
11th: Joanna Montgomery 8.5 points
U75kg final placings and points:
1st: Jenny Todd 22 points
2nd: Anna-Maria Ronnqvist 17 points
3rd: Precious Collins 12.5 points
4th: Nadia Cole 12 points CORRECTED
5th: Ruta Lendraitiene 10.5 points
Guest: Hannah Ingram 0 points
Open final placings and points:
1st: Donna Moore 24 points
2nd: Julie Rider 21 points
3rd: Andrea Thompson 13 points
4th: Karen Sutherland 12 points
5th: Jenn Tibbenham 4 points
So again we have to apologise to Nadia Cole and Precious Collins for our mistake, the points error meant that they swapped places on the day, but the actual placings meant Precious came 3rd and Nadia came 4th.
The final points showed that the winners were fairly dominant, consistently winning their events or placing very high. However the fight beneath them was a vicious one! Places changing back and forth with every event, people like Summayah Shalchi improving position with every event showing that you can’t count out anyone!
The top three in each class got a trophy made of glass, some prize money, some USN goodies, and everybody that competed got a certificate with their max log lift and place in the competition and instead of the usual t-shirt we went for high quality vests and these went down very well! We like to take care of our competitors!
One final thing for the champions as well; the top placed ladies in each class (Donna Moore, Jenny Todd and Katherine Bartlett) have all qualified for the Arnold Strongwoman Championships for 2016! Well done ladies!
If you’re interested in our other competitions then you can enter them through this link: https://www.progressivetrainingsystems.co.uk/store/index.php/events.html Keep an eye out for the next installment of Britain’s Strongest Woman!
The best way though to sum up this write up and the day in general is to watch the video! We did our best to capture as much of the action as possible, and apart from a couple of minor glitches in the log lift and the deadlift we managed to film the entire competition! So watch and enjoy!