A new event was added to the Hermanus Whale Festival’s programme this year – the Bright Ford Hermanus Strongest Man/Women competition, which took place on Saturday 28 September in front of Wimpy in Hermanus. 

Adam McConnell, a trainer at Pro Active Gym, was one of the competitors on Saturday.

The event was organised by locals Johan Kruger and Michelle Hamman from Elite Sporting Engagements (ESE), who can often be seen training in Pro Active Gym, with Bright Ford Hermanus as the title-sponsor. 

The teams were made up of either two men, two women, or a mixed pair. The athletes competed against one another in different categories, such as truck pull, deadlift, log press and clean & press. The pairs had to divide the categories equally between them and were awarded points based on how well they performed. These points were then totalled at the end of the event. 

For those who are not familiar with strongman/woman competitions, truck pull sees athletes competing to pull a vehicle a certain distance in the shortest amount of time possible; deadlift involves lifting weights from the floor to hip level; in log press (unique to strongman competitions) the aim is to get the log from the ground to overhead; and in clean & press a weight is raised to shoulder height from the ground, held momentarily, and then quickly thrust overhead, usually with a lunge or shift of the legs.

Michelle Hamman was the adjudicator for the event and ensured that the competitors performed their feats of strength correctly and safely. Johan Kruger explained the rules for each category and made sure that they were understood before the athletes competed, so that no one would be disqualified for a mistake.

The winning teams were:

  • Maarten van Dalsen and Clauwdet Lok (mixed team)
  • Riette Creighton and Ilana Joan Stuart (women’s team)
  • Martin Byleveld and Johan Kruger (men’s team)

The athletes impressed onlookers with their amazing strength and form throughout the competition and received constant applause from the crowd. Everyone attending and participating in the competition thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it certainly was a popular addition to the Whale Festival programme.

Although they have hosted similar competitions before, this strongman event during the Whale Festival was by far the most spectacular and successful one for ESE. Its success would not have been possible without the generous contributions and support from local businesses, to whom Johan and Michelle would like to express their thanks: 
Wikus of Bright Ford Hermanus: the title-sponsor for medals, trophies, T-shirts and the use of a stunning fiery-red Mustang for the truck pull
Martin of MBD Joinery: spent endless hours and with great craftsmanship hand made and donated the log press
Wayne of Pick ‘n Pay: the athletes’ energy drinks, energy bars and water
Rudolf of Tapas Burgundy: four R200 Tapas meal vouchers as prizes
Schalk of Iconic Coffee & Cookie Co: three vouchers as prizes and delicious Signature Cookies for all athletes
André: the use of his Ford Ranger monster truck for the truck pull
Michelle of Michelle Halford Photography: photographing the event
Mathew of Pro Active Gym: for the use of the gym’s weights
Whale Festival: the platform to host the event and advertising
And finally, thanks to the athletes and spectators, without whom there would have been no event!

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