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Marine wins National American Strongwoman competition

28 Aug 2009 | Pfc. Courtney C. Hundley

She breathes deep and lets the air flow through her lungs. Tightening her wrist straps she bends down to lift the bar overloaded with weights. Gripping the bar as tight as possible, she then pulls it to her chest, breathes out and allows her mind to concentrate on lifting the weight. With her arm muscles giving everything she has, she lets out a grunt and raises the weight above her head.

For Sgt. Beth Grauer, a Marine in training for Explosive Ordnance Disposal with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, this was the scene as she won the middleweight division for the National American Strongwoman competition in Everett, Mass. at Everett Memorial Stadium. She has enjoyed weightlifting since high school when she did it for fun during gym class.

The competition was held Aug. 8 and consisted of five events: the tire flip, stones over the bar, farmers walk, odd object carry and the log press. 
To qualify for this competition the weightlifter has to place top three in every competition they have been in throughout the year.

“This sport can be frustrating because it is more mental than most people would expect,” Grauer said. “You can train all you want, but when it comes to the day of the competition the pressure can make it a lot more challenging.”
Weight lifting is an international competitive sport for people all over the world. The first world championship for women was held in 1987, and the first Olympics for women weight lifting were in 2000, according to

“Weight lifting is worthwhile to me, because it’s a great way to let out stress caused by work, home life and more,” Grauer said. “We always look out for each other and root each other on.”
Grauer won first place in her weight division out of five weightlifters for this competition. She has been training for a year and a half and competing for a year.

“There’s not a day that goes by I don’t train in someway for weight lifting,” Grauer said. “On Fridays and Saturdays I do event training with the rest of the team, every other day I do other forms of training.”
Grauer’s favorite event in weight lifting is the dead lift. She is able to lift an estimated 500 lbs. in the tire flip and places high in almost every competition. 

Marine Corps Community Services sponsored Grauer for this competition, along with two other competitions, by paying the entry fees. Before Grauer began looking for sponsorship, she had already qualified for nationals.

“We were very proud to sponsor Grauer because she gives a 100 percent in all of her training and competitions,” said Bill Brown the MCCS athletic director. “Each accomplishment pushes her to train even harder. She gives up a lot of her free time to train including during the weekends.”

“I always strive to improve more for the next competition,” Grauer said. “I felt as though with each competition I would improve more, I’m looking forward to the next weight lifting event.”