COMOX VALLEY, B.C. – Some very strong men and women will be converging on the Comox Valley next month, to test their skills – and will.

The inaugural Comox Valley Strength Festival is a one-day event happening on April 27, and will feature a pair of marquee and premier strength sports on the baseball fields on Lerwick Avenue.

Sean Hayes, who is coordinating the competition along with Adam Drummond, said the event began to take shape roughly a year ago.

Hayes has strong ties to strongman. He has been a powerlifter since 2014 and has been involved in various strongman competitions since 2016.

Hayes spoke about what draws him and many others to strongman competition.

“It’s fun to challenge your body in different ways,” Hayes said, “so a lot of people go to the gym and they do it for exercise and health purposes and they feel they want another outlet just to compete, just to have another solid ‘I can do this.’”

According to Hayes, while Black Creek hosts an annual strongman event, this will be the first of its kind in the valley.

“This is the first time that a sanctioned strongman will be in the valley,” he said. “This is the first time that I know of, that there will be an outdoor team crossfit competition, and the first time in at least a few years that there will be a Highland Games competition, and it’s definitely the first time that it’s all been put together into one.”

Admission is by donation to the Comox Valley Food Bank.

“There’s no suggested level (of donation),” Hayes said. “Five bucks, 10 bucks, that kind of thing, and preferred cash than food items, generally.”

Events include:

Strongman/Strongwoman – a series of strength challenges that vary from event from event, typically harkening strength challenges of the past. Five to six events will be held including truck pull, overhead log press, deadlift, super yoke, squat lift and atlas stone loading.

The competition will be sanctioned under BC CAASA and Canadian CAASA as a provincial qualifier.  As the season opener, the event is expected to draw several national-level and even world-level athletes.

The crossfit competition is a four-person team challenge in a double elimination bracket.

Highland heavy events are traditional Scottish strength events that include Braemar and open stone throws, heavy and light weights for distance, heavy and light hammer throws, weight of bar, sheaf toss, and the popular caber (pole) toss.

This event is happening three weeks before the Victoria Highland Games, the largest in the world, meaning it will be used by athletes from novice to pro as a season opener and tune-up.

While still being finalized, several other attractions are planned for the day.

Two adjacent playground areas and a bouncy castle will highlight a children’s play area.

Both sports are planning to allow children an opportunity to see and feel the implements, even including an opportunity to try (children-sized) ones.

For adults, a volunteer-run beer licensed beer gardens will be open to the public. A vendor area with vendors ranging a variety of wares will be open for shop.

Sponsors include Flaman Fitness Central Island, Wedler Engineering LLP, Comox Valley Dodge, and Comox Valley Toyota.

To register and for more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.