Alberta's Strongest Man
The strongest man in the province resides right here in the County of St. Paul.
Just over a year ago, Elijah Hall set his sights on obtaining the label of Alberta’s strongest man, and in true fashion of the title, he went undefeated in six competitions to earn the provincial heavyweight championship.
“Everybody there was like, how has this guy come from only one year of doing this and accomplished this much, it’s unheard of. Everyone knew who I was,” Elijah said. “Only one year of doing it and I’ve already become the Alberta champion . . . Thanks to all my sponsors, to all my family who supported me, my kids, and most of all my wife.”
Alberta’s Strongest Man was held at the Strive Fitness Centre in Calgary on Oct. 5, and Elijah finished on top in front of 30 cheering friends and family members.
“It was just awesome. I thanked them so much after,” he said, adding that they even went so far as to make a Team Hall logo; a variation of the Superman logo with an ‘H’ instead of an ‘S’.
Elijah’s wife, Maxine, said she was even appointed as her husband’s motivational coach during the event.
“There was another lady there that would just yell at her husband, so he said ‘well you can do that to me too,’ so the whole time I was pushing him to do it harder,” she said, adding that it’s pretty cool to be married to the strongest man in Alberta. “It’s actually really exciting, it’s like I’m Mrs. Strong Man now.”
The heavyweight competition featured seven finalists and was separated into six events. Winning an event earned competitors seven points, while finishing last earned competitors one point.
Elijah finished second in the opening event, the prowler drag and push, which saw him pull a 400-pound tire with two 100-pound plates inside for 50 feet, and push a 700-pound frame for 50 feet.
Next up was Elijah’s personal favourite, Conan’s wheel. This event saw him carry 620 pounds on one arm in continuous circles to accumulate the most distance.
“The Conan’s wheel is my favourite, so of course I got first,” he said, adding that the event had a new twist. “They had a motorbike put on it this time.”
The third event saw Elijah finish fourth in the 155-pound single barbell lift, but he followed it up by tying for first place in the axle dead lift, an event involving increasing weight increments, starting at 440 pounds and going all the way up to 600 pounds.
“It’s a two inch bar so it’s harder to grip, but you can just stack on the weight,” Elijah said of the axle dead lift. “It was supposed to be for reps on 500 (pounds), but they changed it to last man standing . . . I tied for first and we lifted 600 pounds but we couldn’t do 640.”
Elijah then took on the medley, a grueling series of events that pushed competitors through six 800-pound tire flips, a 190-pound keg walk, and a 630-pound frame carry. Elijah finished second in the medley, but Maxine said that watching her husband take on the highly demanding event was somewhat nerve-wracking.
“His face went green,” said Maxine of watching her husband during the medley event. “Everybody else that did it pretty much just dropped.”
Elijah managed to push on with the title in his sights, and stepped up to the Atlas stone, which required him to lift a stone sphere up to a 48-inch platform and lower it back to the ground as many times as possible.
Elijah finished fifth in the event, which he said had him worried about his place in the standings, but it was enough for him to hang onto first place and earn the title of Alberta’s Strongest Man.
“After that last event, the Atlas stone, because it put me back a little bit I thought I had lost my first place, but then it was just me and buddy up last, and they called his name for second place, and I was like ‘Yes! No freaking way.’ I was just so excited,” he said.
Elijah added that while he is ecstatic to have earned the title, it could be his last competition, as he is contemplating opting out of Western Canada Strong Man on July 1, 2014.
“It’s a lot of work. Especially with my new job, I’m home at seven and I have four boys,” he said. “My work was talking about setting up a gym, and maybe I might keep up with it if that’s the case, but it’s so hard on the body. So I just figured I’d enjoy my life. I’m six for six, I’m happy to walk away like that.”
While Elijah may be finished with competing, he wants to remain a part of strong man competition, and said he hopes to help set up a provincial strong man event in either St. Paul or Cold Lake.
“Cold Lake is what we’re thinking of next year (for Alberta’s Strongest Man),” he said, adding that Cold Lake typically attracts good prize money. “People want to come for that prize money, especially when it’s something so big like this. A plaque is nice, and you get the title of course, but it’s nice to walk away with a little bit of money.”
Elijah said he would love to see the sport flourish in this region, and that he’d be happy to help set something up if there is enough interest.
“If somebody else wants to get involved with it, I’m not afraid to come and help out. Really my biggest goal is to help out the community now,” he said, adding that giving back has always been part of his winning strategy. “Everything that we win for cash prizes, we always give 10 per cent to something. This year we gave $600 towards a charity to help feed the homeless in Edmonton.”
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