Strength in Numbers: Review of the 1st Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest

When a woman rises up in glory, her energy is magnetic and her sense of possibility contagious.Β  Marianne Williamson

1st Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest

One day. Twenty-one women. Five events. Thousands of memories. On Sunday, August 19, 2012, Fivex3 Training and Mike McKenna (of McKenna’s Gym, New Park, PA),Β  hosted the 1st Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest in Baltimore, MD. To say it was a great success is an understatement. It was beyond successful. It was extraordinary. Never before has Baltimore held a contest of this nature. And it was certainly a sight to behold.

With 21 women registered for the event, we knew we were going to see some really awesome lifting. Ten women represented Crossfit Retribution,Β  in Westminster, Maryland. A young woman drove from Urban Athlete in Philadelphia for the event. A couple of women from three other Crossfit gyms, Push 511, South Baltimore Crossfit andΒ  Arenal Fitness, joined us as well. And of course, the awesome ladies of Fivex3 Training represented. We had two groups competing: The Fun Class (beginner group) and the Advanced Class. Both classes rocked the house and more than once, a few of the Fun class lifters hung in there with the Advanced ladies. πŸ˜‰

Kristen has the ball: Weight for Height

After introductions were made by Mike and I, we got right to our first event: Weight for height. The Fun Class threw a 15lb medicine ball over a bar and the Advanced class threw a 20lb slam ball. As the bar was raised, the competition got hotter. By the time it got to 12 feet, we only had a few ladies left. By 13 feet, all were out with the exception of one: Candice of Fivex3 Training. She hurled that ball over the bar with all her might and made it! Height was in her favor as she does stand over 6 feet tall. πŸ˜‰

Jackie dominating the Log.

The clean and press event was up next with the Fun class pressing a 55lb Swiss bar and the Advanced Class pressing an 85lb log. Each contestant had 60 seconds to clean and press the bar/log for as many reps as possible. Now the fun really began! The look on the lifter’s faces as they approached their respective bar/log was a sight to behold. The concentration was so intense. The perseverance even greater. A few of the Advanced lifters dominated the log press with 10-11 reps! Truly remarkable.

Candice and the Axle deadlift.

Following the clean an press was the 2″ axle deadlift for max weight, last woman standing. As the weight piled on to the bar, the women kept pulling. At one point, we had to run into the gym to grab more plates because we didn’t have enough weight! Attempts were made. PR’s were broken and new PR’s were achieved. The winner of this event in the advanced class pulled an easy 315. And Patsy had waaay more in her. πŸ˜‰

The infamous chain drag.

After the deadlift, the ladies rested while we set up the carry medley: farmer’s walks, chain drag and a carry, each for 50 feet. The fun class walked with 75lbs (15o total) in each hand, dragged a 95lb chain and carried a 32kg (72lb) kettlebell. The advanced class walked with 115lbs per hand (230 total), dragged a 185lb chain and carried a 107lb anvil. And they had 2:00 to complete it. Needless to say, they were hauling ass! The chain drag had to be the most difficult part of the medley….it literally stopped people in their tracks!

Atlas stones.

The final event of the day was the Atlas stones, which was the most badass of all the events. Nothing says strong like picking up a heavy and awkward stone and dumping it over a bar for time. πŸ˜‰ Each participant had 90 seconds to pick up the stone and put it over the bar for as many reps as possible. The fun class rocked the event with a 91lb stone with 3 of the 11 women getting 20-22 reps! The advanced class dominated a 135lb stone with two of the 10 women getting 10-11 reps. Unreal. Four to five reps is considered pretty badass! πŸ˜‰

After all the points were added up, it was time to announce the winners. First place in the fun class was Sue Knause of Arenal Fitness. Second and third places went to Candice Boone and Rachel Noonan of Fivex3 Training. First place in the advanced group went to Patsy Shaffer of Crossfit Retribution, with second and third place going to Erica Smith of Urban Athlete, and Jackie Englebrake of Crossfit Retribution. Congratulations ladies!! Well deserved!

This was by far the most supportive, encouraging and empowering competition I have ever attended.Β  Everyone cheered for each other. Everyone clapped and screamed “You can do it!” to every single lady, whether they knew her or not. By the end of the day, everyone was hugging each other, thanking each other and talking about next year. No one cared what anyone looked like. No one was being judged for the definition in her legs, how shapely her arms were, whether or not you could see her abs. No. No.Β  Because we were all too busy watching those strong arms throw weight over a bar, drag chains and press logs. We were all too busy cheering on those strong legs as they bitch slapped the axle deadlift, walked with 140-230 lbs and helped their back and arms pick up 91-135lbs stones. No, we were not concerned with how shapely anyone’s backside was because we were all too amazed with the strength, power, energy, tenacity and courage that made each and every one of those ladies a winner that day.

Strength is not just physical. It is mental, emotional, even spiritual. When you are strong, you are unstoppable. And you never know when your strength will be called upon. This event was not just a day to bring strong women together. It was also an event to benefit a very important organization that has become a big part of my life, the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation. This past September, my sister was diagnosed with colon cancer, almost one month after she took part in a strongman clinic that I hosted last August. She didn’t know it then, but she had been living with stage-3 colon cancer. Almost a year later, she is now cancer free. This year, we donated $200 from the proceeds of the contest to the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation. Our goal is $200 more next year. My sister hopes to compete in the 2013 competition. She is already stronger than all of us. πŸ˜‰

On Sunday, August 19, 2012, 21 women came together to celebrate being STRONG. And we are oh so glad they did. πŸ˜‰

Our Strong Ladies of Charm City

Click here to get the score sheet.

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