If you look up, you’ll see that my blog is titled “The Blog of Mark Jackman, Author, Hunk, Sportsman, Musician, Scientist and Virgin.” To make sure I deserve the title of “Hunk” I have to go down the gym a lot…especially because I like a beer…a lot (look out for my future title “Getting Ripped: The Drinking Man’s Guide”). I train at Charnwood Leisure Centre in Loughborough with a fantastic group of lads, and Vic Parker is one of them. Vic’s a powerlifter and he’s seventy this year. He qualified for the British Championships earlier in the year and to get you up to speed, have a read of my Blog Post about it. Or, you can read the article in the Loughborough Echo: Article (it’s not as good as mine).
Up to speed? Good, then we can continue after I give a shout out to Charnwood Leisure Centre who have helped Vic by giving him free access to the gym whilst training for the British Masters. Cheers guys!
The British Championships for Vic’s 70 and over class (Masters IV) took place on Saturday 11th of April, and we travelled up on Friday, to Accrington, Lancashire, as it was an early weigh in. Vic was quite concerned about making the 82.5 Kg limit, and wasn’t eating the night before, to make sure. Instead of food, his pre-competition meal consisted of lager and sherry, the food of champions (somehow, I’m not joking. Carling, if you want to sponsor Vic, get in touch). Missing breakfast, Vic weighed in at just under 82 Kg, hitting his weight perfectly (sort of).
Then came the bad news. Because Vic hadn’t competed in a national tournament in thirteen years, he wasn’t clued up with all the rules and regulations. Vic competes equipped, which means a competitor can wear a powerlifting suit, knee wraps, wrist wraps, a bench pressing shirt, along with the belt (the belt is the only equipment allowed in the unequipped competition). Vic’s bag of tricks was vetoed quicker than an inner city teenager’s application to Oxford University. At one stage, I was concerned that Vic was going to be lifting nude. In the end, the only piece of equipment he could use was his knee wraps (and the belt). He would have gone unequipped but he likes wrapping his knees – so would you if you’d ripped the tendons off both sets of quadriceps before.
And to the lifting! First was the squat, Vic equalled his own North Midlands Record with a 140 Kg squat, narrowly missing out on the 150 Kg (two out of three red lights).
He then posted a new North Midlands Record with a 95 Kg bench press.
He then broke his own 180 Kg deadlift record with a 190Kg, even though he was told off for not having pulled his socks up. If you’ve come to this website because you have a pensioner sock-wearing fetish, feast your eyes on this!
And then broke that record with an astounding 200kg pull.
That’s over thirty-one stones…
In the 70 and over class…
So yeah, a 140 Kg squat, a 95 Kg bench and a 200 Kg deadlift meant a total of 435 Kg, and guess what that means? Yep, another new North Midland’s record. Oh, and not to mention that Vic Parker is now the 2010 BRITISH CHAMPION!
To celebrate, we went to a pub in Vic’s village, Rothley. With all this new-found inspiration, I put it to good use by drinking a lot of Bass bitter. Vic had a couple to celebrate, and another one of our weightlifting crew, Jez (the guy who put together the ridiculously funny Supernanny/Ron Jeremy fusion picture) drove us there, looking like a condom full of walnuts. I got hammered, went home, played Xbox whilst drinking Irish Coffee, and passed out at three in the morning…truly inspired.
So the title of this post is “Pure Inspiration,” and it’s pretty obvious that Vic has been someone who’s inspired me, both in the gym and outside it. But Vic isn’t alone. Every single person who competed on Saturday was over fifty and each one of them was as strong as an ox. Powerlifting is a tough old game, and the only way to get good at it is to work bloody hard. There aren’t any easy ways out. You’ve got to test yourself under some big ol’ heavy slabs of metal, and it’s scary stuff. Seriously bad things can happen if you lift weights.
Prety bad, huh? Poor Nemo. A lot of people frown upon weightlifting, stating the risk of pulled muscles, ruptured discs and spontaneous combustion. Sure, there are risks, but there are risks in every sport and activity I can think of. The truth is, weightlifting can be enjoyed all the way through life. If there’s proof of this then surely it’s Vic Parker, but if that ain’t enough for you then I think George Leggett might convince you. Vic’s a spring chicken compared to George who soon turns eighty-one.
George has been lifting competitively since the end of the Second World War and he’s still going strong. I was pleased to find out that George is an East Anglian boy, like me. Although he lives over the border near Lowestoft, Suffolk, and all those lot are usually a bit odd. George has been world champion, in the past, and holds the British record for the over 70s and over 80s in the 75Kg class in every single lift! To add to the legend: he also trains in Blundeston Prison! He holds one record in the deadlift, for the over 60s class. Someone tried to beat it on Saturday…
Can you remain competitive at 80?
I loved that…you can hear me, quite clearly, pissing myself in the background. There’s a reason he’s competitive, though. And that is…he’s still absolutely awesome.
It truly was a special moment. That was his second attempt as well. He failed the first and came back and tried again. Absolute legend!
So there you have it. If the above videos haven’t inspired you then I don’t think anything will. As for Vic, he’s having a rest right now (especially after a few too many ciders the other night). Will he continue lifting? He sure will. Driving home, I said to him “Well, you’re British Champion now.” He replied “Yep, and it’s only taken me fifty-two years.” LOL. He may not be too bothered about defending his title, and he’s broken all the regional records, but there are British records that are well within the great man’s reach. Don’t be surprised if you see a post about a new British record holder in the near future. Hopefully Charnwood Leisure Centre will continue to give him free access to the gym whilst he tries (HINT!).