The 2023 Official Strongman Games took place on December 1-3, in West Virginia. It represented one of the most encompassing elite contests in the world, having gathered competitors from all weight and age classes. Among those that were highly anticipated was the Master (40+ Years Old), as it proves to be extremely entertaining each year. Well, with 27 Strongmen in the division this year, it definitely did not disappoint. However, despite the strong lineup, Rauno Heinla won the competition and became the 2023 Masters (40+) World’s Strongest Man.
Rauno Heinla was not in a good position to win the title following the conclusion of day two, as he was sitting in third place, nine points behind the leader at that point. So, with just two events left, Rauno could only focus on performing well and hoping that the rivals ahead of him would drop points. Luckily, that was exactly how the situation unfolded, and Rauno took the gold medal.
Rauno Heinla’s Full Performance
- Stand or Submit Press Medley: 4 reps – 32.78 s (First-Place)
- Stix and Stone Carry: 17-ft 4-in (20th-Place)
- Kabuki Strength Deadlift Ladder: 5 barbells – 32.9 s (First-Place)
- Goruck Survival Challenge: 48.16 seconds (Fifth-Place)
- Sandbag Toss: 6 bags – 17.9 s (First-Place)
- Atlas Stones: 6 stones – 33.84 s (First-Place)
The first event for Rauno Heinla’s division tasked them with overhead pressing five different implements, each challenging in its own way. The implements were: a 285-lb barbell, a 181-lb dumbbell, a 322-lb Anchor Yoke, and a 263-lb Block. Rauno crushed his rivals, finishing everything in a time of 32.78 seconds, beating everyone by at least 14 seconds.
Trouble for Rauno Heinla came on the second event, where he had to carry a 750-pound frame for 50-feet, as well as a heavy set of stones (280-lb + 235-lb) for 25-feet. However, Rauno was unable to complete the event and ended up finishing in 20th place. This not only nullified his win from event one, but also put him in a position where he needed to catch-up to the leading pack.
Rauno Heinla’s comeback story began at the very next event, as the deadlift ladder was on the schedule. The Masters athletes lifted five barbells ranging from 635 pounds to 800 pounds. Being the Masters Deadlift World Record holder, Rauno once again crushed his opposition and took first place. In fact, he was the only man to lock out all five deadlifts, with many others struggling to deadlift 800 pounds.
The Survival Challenge was up next, and the Masters division first had to put on a 101-pound rucksack. They carried the ruck on their backs throughout the entire event while performing separate movements. Those included a 275-pound medicine ball carry, a 300-pound sandbag carry, and a 575-pound sled pull. Rauno finished in fifth place with a time of 48.16 seconds, but had luck since both of the men who were ahead of him finished even lower.
The last day of the competition featured two events, the first of which was the Sandbag Toss. The Masters division was tasked with throwing 2x 40-lb / 2x 45-lb / 1x 50-lb / 1x 55-lb. Rauno finished all tosses in a time of 17.9 seconds, claiming second place in the event.
The final and deciding event of the competition was the Atlas Stones, which featured six weights ranging from 275 pounds to 400 pounds. Rauno Heinla was once again the quickest to complete the event, which secured him an event win.
However, when the competition was wrapped up, Rauno Heinla and Johan Espenkrona were both on 47 points overall. So, since Rauno performed better in the final event of the competition, the tiebreaker went his way, and he got the winning edge over Johan.
With this win, Rauno Heinla claimed the title of Masters World’s Strongest Man for the first time in his career. Interestingly, he lost on a tiebreaker last year but won the same way this year. So, it remains to be seen what Rauno’s plans for next year are, but he will likely attempt to defend this title again.