So you want to run a strongman competition? 6 lessons learned the hard way.

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So you want to run a Strongman Comp?? 6 lessons learned, the hard way…

Its great when people step up to the plate, to run their first strongman comp.  I thought it might be useful to share some lessons I’ve learned in running a few comps in Australia.

log press1. Test all the events beforehand

If your using traditional strongman events, then you probably wont need to test them before the competition.  However if you are looking to do an event such as a truck pull, then you will need to test it out.  i.e. to find out how hard it is to pull, and the angle and consistency of the surface.  Also if you are going to add a twist to a traditional event you should test it out first.  I thought doing a viking press, using a telegraph pole, would be fairly easy, however on the day of the competition the event had to be amended as it hadnt been tested previously, and whilst it was workable for the men, the weight of it was too heavy with out weight plates being added.

2. Have a team, Referee, Time keepers, Loaders etc.

As stupid as it sounds, I thought that I could do most roles in the latest comp I ran this year 2014 New South Wales Strongest Man and Woman.  There were 32 competitors across 8 events, in 9 different divisions…The first day I started out as emcee, referee, timer, and result scorer, and loader/helper..  Whilst I struggled through the first day, I realised late that night that I couldn’t do it again the next day.  The first role I dropped was emcee, then I gave the record keeping to a young friend who was good with maths.  I then gave the time keeping responsibilities to other people.   It wasn’t easy as I’d become a bit of a control freak, but you know what….. the day started running smoother, I began to enjoy it more, and it was great to see friends and family of the competitors getting involved in the competition.

3. Have clear instructions written  for the different roles.

Related to point 2, it is a lot easier to delegate jobs if there are simple clear instructions for them to follow.  A case in point was a loading race where, for the first heat one of the time keepers didn’t realise that they needed to record the time down to the hundreds of a second.

4. Eat, Drink, you will need it.

Sounds obvious but it is not unusual to be too busy to eat.  You will definitely be burning alot of calories if you are running a competition.  I have found that I lose 2 kg of bodyweight when I run a comp.  Have easy to eat foods available chocolate, shakes etc.

5. Make a scoring sheet for each event for each weight division, and print spares.

I thought I would be smart and have all the events for each division on the same piece of paper, however it meant that when the next event was being run, the previous events scores were on that piece of paper and couldn’t be put onto a leaderboard to give the up to date subtotals for the competition.

NSW strongman group shot6. Enjoy the competition

Sounds obvious but if you are running an event it is easy to become so absorbed in making it work, that you forget to enjoy it.  It should be fun, if not why on earth are you doing it, as in most cases there is no money to be made in doing it.

Phil Burgess