Not many athletes can lift 600 pounds. Even fewer can actually walk with that much weight.
“It’s very exerting on the body, joints and back and spine,” explained Sam Strange. “This is to simulate carrying meat back to the village from long distances and what it took to get that meat back to the village.”
Strange was just one of four men competing in the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics’ four-man carry.
The event is just like it sounds: Four men — weighing about 150 pounds each — drape themselves over the competitor, who must then walk as far as he can around the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.
“It’s tough, it’s tiring, but as soon as you collapse because you’re exerting all kinds of muscles, but as soon as everyone’s off and you catch your breath you’re as light as a feather,” Strange laughed.
Matthew Sido Evans was the favorite in the event and he didn’t disappoint.
The 6-foot, 6-inch athlete loaded up the weight and took off.
“About halfway through I couldn’t breathe anymore but I just kept going. I saw how close I was and I just kept going,” he said.
Homer Lord set the previous record for the four-man carry in 1997 with 187 feet.
Evans smashed it, walking 241 feet, 8 inches before he finally collapsed under the weight.
He’s now the world-record holder, a title he’s been chasing for years.
“I was 2 feet shy of the record last year. I’m feeling pretty good about crushing it now,” he smiled.
Although not every competitor can go home with a trophy, they all go home winners knowing they accomplished something few men would ever even attempt.