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Aitken enjoys early success in strongman competition


Dauphin’s Cory Aitken captured first place in the men’s heavy weight novice category at the 2020 Manitoba Classic Strongman Competition in Winnipeg, Aug. 2.
Aitken and his wife, Chantele, have lived in Dauphin for three years and he has been involved in strongman for about five years, getting into the sport after they moved to Manitoba when she was transfered to the province by the RCMP.
“I got involved in a gym in Melita. I’ve always been a big guy, hockey, rugby, football, all that kind of stuff. And I took to it like a duck in water,” he said.
Aitken, who now trains at ParkFit, quickly learned strength was just a part of the competition. The implements involved add to the challenge.
“It’s not just something like a barbell, where you’re just fighting the barbell. A lot of the time, you’re fighting the weight. It’s a lot more difficult that just standard weight lifting, because you’re fighting those, as well,” he said.
The Winnipeg competition included a 500-pound yoke carry, farmer’s walk with 235-pounds per hand and a sled pull of 300 pounds.
“But they made it difficult by having it be a three-inch bar that you were holding, so you couldn’t really grip it. So you had to really fight with it to get it to go,” Aitken said.
“And I think all of them were 60 feet.”
The yoke carry is one of Aitken’s best events. In the same competition last year, the only person to beat him was Canada’s strongest man.
“I know it’s one of my best events, so I knew I had to do well in it. But at the start, the guy beside me picked it up really fast and I was like, ‘oh, oh.’ And I just kind of turned my brain off and went as fast as I could,” he said.
After competing in a fun competition a couple of years ago, this event was the first sanctioned competition Aitken was involved in. It was sanctioned by the Canadian Alliance of Amateur Strength Athletes. The event in Winnipeg was hosted by Brickhouse Gym.
Aitken likes the competition aspect of strongman, as well as the fact that it is different from the team sports he is used to competing in.
“You’re competing against yourself out there. It’s just you alone. And everybody else who is there, they’re just so supportive. Everybody wants to see each other do really well. It’s a good atmosphere,” he said.
“In Manitoba, they say it’s the smallest province on the prairies for number of people that compete and I think a lot more people would be more interested if they could see how helpful everyone is within the sport.”
Now that he has won, Aitken will move out of the novice category to “play with the big boys.” But that is something he will be ready for.
“Next year, I’ll be back and I’ll be ready for the heavier weights and the bigger boys,” he said, adding the win gives him a lot of confidence going forward.
“With the win, I will get invited to nationals. I think it’s in Quebec this year and you get to compete against everyone across Canada, he said, adding an invitation to a world strongest man competition is a pie-in-the-sky goal.
“But I definitely want to do well enough next year to get invited to some of the bigger competitions,” he said.

Doug Zywina