Strongwoman: Yarmouth's Melissa Garron takes Atlantic title in inaugural contest

Eric Bourque
Published on July 6, 2016

YARMOUTH-  It was a day of firsts for Melissa Garron.

Not only was the Yarmouth-area powerlifter taking part in her first strongwoman competition – held in Hantsport on Canada Day – she also ended up in first place, topping a five-woman field to take the Atlantic title.

How does one become a strongwoman champion?

Garron started the event by pulling a big truck. She followed that by deadlifting 240 pounds 16 times in a minute. Then it was seeing how far she could carry a 175-pound sandbag in a minute. (She figures she went about 85 feet.)

The overhead press – seeing how many times she could lift a 110-pound weight over her head – was next, followed by a medley that included a farmer’s walk (carrying 120 pounds in each hand), duck walk (carrying 150 pounds between her legs) and yoke walk (carrying 300 pounds on her shoulders).

The final standings were determined by how the competitors did in each type of lift. By the time she finished the medley – in which she placed fourth – Garron had done well enough in the earlier lifts to take the championship.

“I think I did as good as I expected or even better,” Garron said. “In the deadlift and overhead press, I actually did better than expected. Overall I was pretty happy with how it went.”

The 34-year-old Garron, a provincial powerlifting champ last year, trains at Jones Gym in Yarmouth, where she works with Keith Surette. The strongwoman competition was held less than a month after this year’s powerlifting provincials in the Sackville area, where Garron was second in the 72-kilogram weight class.

“It’s completely different training,” she said, comparing powerlifting to strongwoman events, “so it was really a lot of work in those couple of weeks that we switched over.”

Of the strongwoman competition, she said the truck pull may have been the toughest thing to prepare for “because you just don’t know. You don’t know how hard it’s going to be. I’ve trained in here (Jones Gym) with a sled – put a harness on and pulled the sled – but it’s not the same as pulling a truck.”

The women pulled the same vehicle as the men. (The male competitors pulled it on a slight upward gradient, the women on a slight downgrade.)

The  Atlantic strongwoman competition was new this year, having been added to the established strongman event. Garron said she was glad to be a part of it.

“It was fun,” she said. “There was a good-sized crowd.”