Rockport resident Vincent Tran recently competed in the 2019 United States Strongman Nationals competition on June 8 in Columbus, OH.
Up until the start of 2019, Tran had never taken part in a Strongman competition, nor had he ever trained for one.
A diligent weightlifter and personal trainer, Tran was encouraged by his peers to pursue competing in a Strongman competition, believing he’d perform well.
He began training for competition in January 2019 with his first meet in May 2019 called the Big Tex Classic in Austin.
Known for its taxing and compound exercises, Tran began weight training in a completely different manner than he ever had before.
“The training for it is fun for a little bit, but then it becomes a chore,” said Tran. “I had dabbled in Strongman implements, like the log, the stone. I messed around with it, but never trained for it seriously.”
Tran considered competing in the Big Tex Classic as a novice (beginner) participant because he hadn’t done it before. However, he decided to sign up for the open (competitive) division after some persuasion from another local competitor.
At the Big Tex Classic, Tran placed second in the men’s open lightweight 181. The news came as a surprise to Tran because the second place finish resulted in an invitation to nationals.
“I was shocked,” said Tran. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow this is an opportunity that just fell right in front of me.’ It was totally unexpected.”
Having no idea he was going to do well enough to qualify, Tran ultimately decided he’d give the nationals meet a shot.
At nationals, Tran competed in the same weight class, but with much more competition this time around.
The event consisted of five lifts that needed to be performed at a set weight and in a set amount of time. The lifts were the log clean and press away, axle deadlift, yoke walk, carry and drag medley, and sandbag throws.
Going in with no expectations, Tran battled, but ultimately finished 27th out of 33 participants in his weight class.
He said the event was full of exceptional athletes, but the environment and experience was worth the trip to Ohio.
“I got the vibe that everyone in my weight class was very supportive. We cheered each other on and overall it was pretty fun,” said Tran. “I just didn’t expect to place high because I had such a short time to train for it.”
Upon his return to Rockport, Tran was eager to get back to work at his home gym, Mammoth Training Center.
Tran said he expects to make a return trip to the national stage next year in Minneapolis.
He plans on attending next year’s Big Tex Classic in Austin again to qualify for nationals; however, he also hopes to bring along a group of competitors from Rockport to compete together as a team.