Dubbed the “world’s strongest mortician,” Pagosa Springs resident and funeral home owner Marshall White, 28, took third place in the 2010 America’s Strongest Man Competition — his best finish at the event — despite sustaining a torn tricep during the event.
The competition was held in Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 24-25 as part of the Mr. Olympia weekend.
Day one of the competition began with the block press medley, which consists of the contestants attempting to lift a series of four blocks that start at about 250 pounds and increase to about 400 pounds.
White lifted two blocks in 25.11 seconds. Only one competitor, the eventual winner, lifted all four blocks.
Following the block press medley was the 950-pound yoke and 722-pound anchor chain drag, with the yoke placed on the strongman’s shoulders as it and the weight are carried.
Overall, White carried the items for 28.57 seconds, the seventh longest time.
The day’s third event was the 400-pound Hussefeldt stone, an event White excelled at with a carry of 218 feet 11 inches — by far the longest among the competitors, with the next longest carry at 147 feet 7 inches.
The stone, shaped somewhat like an old-style coffin, is about 30 inches tall and 18-24 inches in width.
“I felt as though I actually went too far on it,” White said of not saving his energy for later events. “That’s the beauty of living in Colorado. ... I have endurance in groves.”
The final event of the day, the Atlas stone run, featured one stone weighing 330 pounds, two 360-pound stones, 390- and 420-pound stones, with each lifted to 54-inch platforms.
White completed four stones. Only one strongman completed all five stones.
At the end of the day, White was in third place with 25 points.
After a rest, day two’s events began with the Last Man Standing Max Log Press, in which White was one of three athletes to press 390 pounds. Two strongmen lifted more.
White also suffered a tricep tear lifting the 390-pound log.
“My first reaction was, ‘Oh no’,” White said. “I’ve worked so hard; I really felt like I was good for more, but my first reaction was a lot of fear.”
While no surgery is needed for the minor tear, White is working around his tricep for six weeks in order to continue training without further damage.
Next was the 330-pound and 800-pound farmer and frame medley. In the farmer’s walk, the competitors carry two cylinders in each hand, each cylinder weighing 330 pounds. Then, the strongmen carry a rectangular frame.
White did not complete the frame carry, but carried the items for a distance of 82 feet 4 inches. Only five competitors completed the event.
The third event of the day, the deadlift medley, included one lift of a 900-pound frame, one of a 660-pound axle, one lift of a 720-pound barbell, and as many deadlift reps of a car as possible.
In the event, White was able to lift the end of a car nine times, along with two others. Two strongmen completed 11 reps.
The weekend’s festivities ended with the suicide medley. The medley consists of a shuttle run to pick up a keg, which is loaded on a sled, a shuttle run to pick up a block and place it on the sled, and another run for a sandbag, which is also loaded onto the sled. The strongman then drags the sled with a total weight of 1,025 pounds.
White pulled the sled 40 feet 6 inches to record the third longest pull of the event.
After the eight events, White tallied 51 points, allowing him to hold steady with a third-place finish out of the 10 strongmen competing.
Mike Jenkins garnered 61 points to finish in second place, while Derek Poundstone tallied 70.5 points to take home the title for a record third time and second consecutive year.
White, who obtained professional status in 2006, finished fifth in the event last year.
“I felt really good about it, considering it’s two places higher than last year,” White said, adding, “Obviously, I feel I would have done much better without a torn tricep.”
Despite the muscle tear, White said he is still training intensively (avoiding his tricep by working on squats and dead lifts) to prepare for his next competition, the All-American Strongman Challenge in Los Angeles on Jan. 29.