By Dan Hipkiss As I pulled into the car park of Northwood Stadium in Stoke on Trent, I realised today would be a challenge for everyone involved. It was raining sideways, and upwards at one point; but this is Strongman, and the show must go on.
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The first event of the day was the U23 Junior World Championship, these are some big lads, and all of them have a long future ahead of them. One of the athletes, Martynas Brusokas, has competed at every U23 event and this year he finally got the win. A well deserved victory handled very professionally. Rain continued to pour all throughout the day, until the last second in typical fashion, it brightened up for the trophy presentation. Event one was the Husafell Stone carry, this was an event for distance, which really pushed the limits of determination and team work. The first athlete out took the stone off a block and carried until failure. Then the second athlete had to raise the stone from where it landed, whilst they could be helped by their team mate it really pushed the guys battling with the elements. Martins Licis and Trey Mitchell iii won this event with a dominant performance. The two man log followed, this was a real spectacle, and lead to some world records being set, broken and broken again. The key to this event is harmony and communication. Some teams who “should” have done well didn’t quite gel, but unsurprisingly all the brothers worked well together! Rauno Heinla and Mateusz Kieliszkowski lifted 360kg to set a new World record. Car deadlift for reps was next, this was without straps and a tag in-tag out situation with as many changes as needed/wanted. Pacing was a tactic that needed to be used; however, yet again the teams of brothers proved they could work together to do something special. The Hadge brothers and the Lalas brothers both got 31 reps, and both pairs looked like they had nothing left and yet somehow kept going. Unfortunately at this point, I lost track of who took this event win, as my coaching brain kicked in and people needed help! The hold for time followed, and it was at this point we realised how close everything had become with one point between 3&4 and one between 4&5. Phil Roberts and Tom Stoltman (bravehearts) came out and took the lead by about 8 seconds, then the Hadge’s came out and took the lead, then the bears came out and beat them by one second, then Martins and Trey came out and again dominated the event, showing a great drive a determination. Going into the final event, the Hadge’s and Bravehearts were tied for third, with the bears behind them again by one point. This was a “do or die” for the podium, Nick and Zach Hadge showed their trademark emotion before the event started, these guys are some of the most passionate and driven people I’ve ever seen, and if you’re feeling a bit down, spend 5 minutes talking to them and you’ll feel a million dollars! Phil Roberts and Tom Stoltman walked into the arena like they had a point to prove, quiet, composed and ready to do whatever it takes. Phil and Tom stormed through the event, making no mistakes, helping each other and being efficient, this time it was enough to secure third. In the end, the Lalas brothers had done enough to secure the win Vytautas had promised last year, with Martins and Trey completing the podium in second. Finally a mention about the weather, records and the athletes, I have seen a lot of opinions voiced online about how little Ultimate and Glenn Ross must care about athletes and the sport. All athletes have the option not to compete, the rubber matting that was used was incredibly grippy with people stumbling rather than slipping, Tom went out to attempt the stone knowing the conditions would make it difficult but felt he owed it to the fans to give it 100%, and Big Z has been a high level strength athlete for 25 years, he had the option not to go for the record, but made a decision to try, no one is forced into anything. And suggestions about not caring for fans is ridiculous, as the council gave some cars parking tickets which has lead to anyone with a ticket being offered a pair of ultimate tickets for any event, and a hint that the event will move next year. Again, thanks to all the athletes, fans, Glenn Ross and everyone at the Ultimate Strongman team, and Sarah for being the only person that can get a room full of strongman to behave!
- Vytautas and Marius lalas
- Martins Licis & Trey Mitchell
- Phil Roberts & Tom Stoltman
- Nick and Zach Hadge
Dan Hipkiss, 27, currently about to move to Sheffield (England) to start University at Sheffield Hallam to study Sports and Exercise Technology, coaching under the name StrengthX where the biggest athlete I support is Paul Smith. Like many people I started out with crossfit, then found Olympic weightlifting, which led onto strongman (through meeting Paul) which has since lead to Powerlifting. Become a supporting member for exclusive content and features Sign up For Strongman Coaching or our Training Templates at just $15 per month Visit our Shop for all your Strongman needs Download a Free 12 Week Strongman Program Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube & Pinterest