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Courtenay strongman enters professional ranks of powerlifting

Sean Hayes wins strongman competition in Quebec City
Sean Hayes displays the trophy and pro circuit plaque after winning Strongman Nationals in Quebec City. At left is his girlfriend, Kayla Russman-Walberg. Photo supplied

Sean Hayes has entered the professional ranks of powerlifting by winning a strongman competition, Saturday, Oct. 3 in Quebec City.

The Courtenay man won the heavyweight division at Strongman Nationals, finishing well ahead of his 20-plus competitors. Hayes placed top three in each of the six events:

•First in deadlift ladder (main bar at 650 pounds), completing 11 repetitions in 60 seconds;

•Second in 800-pound yoke carry, covering 120-foot course in 27 seconds;

•Second in giant dumbbell overhead press, seven repetitions;

•Second in medley, 590-pound farmers handles plus 425 lead weight carry, 60-feet each in 27 seconds;

•Second in axle overhead press, seven continuous repetitions;

•Third in axle bar grip hold, 35 seconds.

The event was capped at 100 athletes. Sessions ran 20 athletes at a time at an extreme pace.

“The six events basically ran back-to-back-to-back, jumping right into the next without recovery or warm-up time,” said Hayes, who runs a gym out of his garage. “The central nervous system overloading through the day combined with the adrenaline had us experiencing body spasms. Definitely the toughest contest conditions I’ve had. Even such, nationals was a big success for Comox Valley athletes.”

Four other locals competed in Quebec. Daniel Carlson placed second in the men’s lightweight category, winning the yoke walk (525 pounds/120 feet) and the axle bar grip hold. Lataisha Maynard placed fourth in the women’s middleweight class, Kalem Nygren-Hardy finished ninth in the men’s middleweight division, and Mathieu Poirier was 13th in men’s heavyweight.

Hayes has been invited to the Professional Strongman Circuit in 2021 — the first time a B.C. athlete will compete on the circuit.

“Very excited, big step up in the sport,” he said.