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Relentless Detroit 2013: Recap

5 Nov


I felt like this deserved a more in-depth description. It’s hard to find the words to describe this amazing weekend.

When we arrived on Friday, it was definitely a little overwhelming. Entering a room full of hundreds of people, including many well-known and respected lifters made me feel incredibly small. Thankfully there were people we knew there, who I stuck around the whole night (cause I’m a chicken). Despite how out-going I am when you meet me, this was my first real big meet, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. When Marshall Johnson walked past me I had a damn near heart attack.

The second day was definitely a lot easier to handle. If anyone knows me they know I have some anxiety issues in big crowds. But hiding behind my camera did help somewhat, haha. I got a lot of great shots that will be posted up over the next couple of days (bear with me here!)

It’s hard for me to describe the impact that this meet had on me emotionally though. This competition was so much more than just getting to meet and watch my “idols” doing their thing. It was an opportunity to help others by doing what we love, and physically seeing the result of all our efforts.

Marshall put it best in a video he posted today about what Relentless meant to him (watch at the end of this post). He said that he never thought that his talent would be used to benefit others…but it has. In such a huge way.

I resonate with that. Before I knew what Relentless was, I never really saw what we do as being able to be such a big help to other people. It wasn’t until I saw the children and their families walk into the room that I was hit hard with the realization that we DO have the ability to help others with our strength. I realized what all our donations were really going towards. I saw the look of excitement and happiness on these kids faces. It made me feel so honored and so blessed to have been able to help them and their families, and to help give them hope. It made me see that regardless of what bad things are happening in my life, there is always someone out there who is fighting a harder battle, and keeping their head up the whole time.

I want to be that strong. I feel like after having seen those kids fighting for their lives with a smile on their face, the least I can do is keep my head up high and not tap out. They aren’t quitters. I won’t be one either.

Regardless of any weight that was thrown up on Saturday, those kids and their parents were always the strongest ones in the room. I think most of us can only hope to be that strong-willed.

That being said. There were some awesome feats of strength I witnessed over the weekend. I watched Kathy Johnson squat over 500 lbs. Another woman (whose name I’m not sure) benched over 400 lbs.  I watched a 9-year old boy deadlift more than double his bodyweight. I watched Paul Carter tear his quad, only to get back up there and kill his bench with zero leg drive, and stiff-leg deadlift 600 lbs. I watched Marshall Johnson pull over 800 lbs, with every person in the room, including the children, up against the stage cheering him on. That is certainly a competition moment I will never forget.

It’s not often you see such camaraderie in sports. But powerlifting is one of the few where everyone supports the other person. It’s not about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than yourself. And this was the most selfless competition I have ever witnessed. Everything was for these kids.

Hearing the stats of the donations raised brought tears to my eyes. We raised a combined total of $137,000. Enough for each family to go home with $15,000 to use towards medical expenses, needs, and anything else they could possibly want. That is $107,000 more than this same meet brought in last year.

Thank you to everyone who helped with a donation. Everything was very much appreciated. Even if all you could give was a dollar…we wouldn’t have reached that total without you!!

Next stop…$300,000.

We may look hard on the outside, but we’re pretty soft on the inside. And our hugs are pretty killer.

Photo credit: Ashley Reed

Photo credit: Ashley Reed


Marshall’s full video “What Relentless Means to Me”: