Two Mason students participate in the Capital Classic Strongman Challenge on last Saturday at the Cross Fit gym in Reston. Photo By Brad Clark

Two Mason students participate in the Capital Classic Strongman Challenge on last Saturday at the Cross Fit gym in Reston. Photo By Brad Clark

It wasn’t your typical day in the gym at the Cross Fit in Reston.

Tractor tires were flipped, anchor chains were pulled and cars were lifted. These were just a few of the events at the Capital Classic Strongman Challenge on Saturday.

These weren’t easy challenges at all — even for an amateur competition. Mason students Matt Makara and Adam Bigbee, however, showed up with the determination of elite athletes.

“I just wanted to get through [the log press],” Makara said, taking a breather after deadlifting a Mini Cooper 17 times. “I’m fine with all the other events. I just don’t like doing overhead.”

Makara finished second in the first event with six reps and kept the momentum going throughout the contest, racking up three first-place and two third-place positions.

A graduate student studying global health at Mason, Makara trained, lifted and dieted for months leading up to the competition. His diligence paid off.

He not only took first place in the Novice division, but was one of only two competitors to lift the bonus atlas stone (308-pounds), which gave him a $50 prize and a standing ovation from the entire crowd and competitors.

What made the efforts of Makara extraordinary was the fact that he not only finished in the top three for each event, but he was able to complete all of them — something most competitors were unable to do.

“My back felt pretty hurt after the car deadlift,” Makara said. “But I just kept stretching and went to each event pumped and prepared.”

Throughout the day, men and women of all levels of experience and size were put to their limits and, oftentimes, were met with frustration.

Five of the 13 competitors in Makara’s division weren’t even able to do the first event, and many of those who started off strong were out of gas by the third and fourth event.

Adam Bigbee, who is finishing his Ph.D. at Mason for education and human development, seemed disappointed with himself after getting only two of the five stones up in the last event.

Even so, Bigbee was all smiles after receiving first place in his division.

“I’ve been doing strongman competitions for five years,” Bigbee said, posing for a picture in his Krispy Kreme Doughnuts shirt. “This is my tenth competition, and they just keep getting harder.”

The amateur strongman competition was the first of its kind in the area, an idea brought up by veteran strongman competitor Barry Perkins.

Perkins met with the Reston Crossfit owner Maggie Dabe, who agreed to let Perkins bring his equipment to the gym.

It didn’t take much for the event to become a hit and over 40 competitors met on March 26 to prove their strength.

The first Capital Classic Strongman Challenge was a success, and Perkins announced at the end of the nearly nine hour event that he hoped to not only make it an annual event, but brought up the potential for another competition in the fall.