Eastern Canada's Natural Strongest Man 2018

This past weekend, the athletes from the eastern provinces vied for qualifying spots for the national competition again in Eastern Canada's Natural Strongest Man. 

The weather was perfect and everything was lined up for a glorious day of competition. Joel Stone Park in Gananoque is a great venue, right on the water and makes for a very scenic place to hold a competition. 


As seems to be a regular occurrence with this competition, the athlete lineup started in the low teens but was slowly dwindled down to five by the time the competition started. 

The stage was set for a fierce battle with every athlete on the field being top-calibre. 

For a more complete overview of the details of the events, you can read this. 


Event 1 - Overhead Press Medley

My goal was to hit the 250 lb. log in sequence with the other implements in this event. I had been able to hit the log as a standalone press in training but not after pressing the 150 lb. circus dumbbell with each arm and the 230 lb. axle. 

The pressing was off to a smooth and fast start for me but I injured my wrist somewhere along the way. Likely on the axle clean and press. I’ll have to remember to better stretch out my wrists before facing another axle press again in competition.

The clean of the log went well enough but I couldn’t get stabilized well enough to dip and drive from there. Without a chance of pressing the log, I ended up in fifth place on this event as the rest of the board was rife with great pressers. Brian Pennel and Ryan Caron both made short work of all the implements. 


Event 2 - Farmer’s Walk

There’s nothing worse than going first in a max. distance farmer’s walk. I made every intention of setting the bar high in this one. Perhaps I should have chalked up the handles themselves or maybe it was the pressing injury to my wrist that I could only slightly feel at the time but for some reason, my left hand didn’t feel locked in and slipped down in my grip early on in the event. I made it to something around 45’ and knew that I would be in the rough again on this one. The furthest distance travelled was Ryan with 55’ but Drew and Brian also edged in between so I was 4th on this one. 


Event 3 - Sled Medley

After the first two events, which I was a little more doubtful about my performance in, I was hoping to perform well in the last three events for my own sake. Dragging the sheet metal sled loaded up on grass was a very daunting challenge. I was gunning for completing the 50’ stretch with the sled but even if that wasn’t going to be the case I knew I had to set the bar very high to remain competitive with three athletes following me. After getting the kegs loaded on the back end of the sled I tried to start the sled with a backpedal motion to keep it going. This quickly had to change as there was no chance of keeping the momentum of the sled going and so I switched to a more powerful row to get as much distance on each pull as I could. Going all the way to the time limit, I could see the finish line in sight but wasn’t quite close enough. I managed to get past 38’ which I was still hoping was pretty good and turned out to be enough for the win in the event. 


Event 4 - Zercher Yoke Carry

I was gunning for a very fast time in this event having seen everyone go ahead of me with many very close numbers and Brian paving the way with a time just under 8 seconds for the 50-foot carry. 

At the start command, I think my timing was just a little off as I felt resistance build and build, as the front of the frame had caught in the grass and was holding me back and slowing me down. I gritted through the resistance and got clear again but knew that I had lost my opportunity to win this event. After straightening back out and getting the yoke back under control, I was able to pour it on to continue across the finish line. I finished in second place just under 10 seconds on the carry. 

There are two things that I see may have happened to cause the delay in my start: either simply my cadence was off and started with too much forward motion and not enough lift, which caught me in the grass, or I should have cleared the grass from the ends of the yoke frame before starting as it may have already been stuck in the grass somewhat from the previous athletes. 


Event 5 - Car Deadlift

Now, maybe you wouldn’t really expect it, but a Fiat can be a deceptively heavy car to deadlift. The car was set very close to the handles so I would estimate that the weight at the handles was around 600 lb. Seeing a few athletes go ahead of me, I knew it was going to be very heavy with the mark to beat at 2 reps. I managed to get through 6 reps before stalling out. Brian, who had never done a car deadlift before, and who had never even competed before as a matter of fact, was the only one left. He had performed extremely strongly in most of the events so far and the car deadlift was no different. He easily hit 7 reps and stopped at that. It was a very strong and very impressive lift. 

You can find video of all of the events on my Instagram page @ReliableJ

After the dust was all settled the results for the qualifying athletes were: 1st - Brian Pennel, 2nd - Ryan Caron, 3rd - RJ Kayser, 4th - Andrew Roach, 5th - David Goulby. Next up for this group will once again be the Canadian Hercules competition later on in the summer. Hopefully, all of the athletes who qualified will be there to represent Eastern Canada and put on a good show.