Reed City powerlifter returning to sport following four-year hiatus
REED CITY — For Reed City native Carol Burr, her strength can be measure in trophies won and records set.
Burr, a 57-year-old powerlifter, is returning from a four-year hiatus from competitive powerlifting with hopes of picking up right where she left off. She will be competing in an American Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation event on Sept. 12 in Muskegon, her first action since 2011.
A 1976 graduate of Reed City High School, Burr, who played basketball while a Coyote, always was interested in athletics, but didn't immediately find powerlifting.
"My focus after graduating high school was working and raising my two kids," Burr said. "When my kids became teenagers, I got back into working out.
"I worked out for a long time, then it got to the point where I wanted to do something with it. Bodybuilding was out of the question, so I went to Plainwell in April 2005 because I was interested in powerlifting and there was a competition going on there. I actually ended up competing almost on a whim, and I even set records that day. It started just like that."
Between 2005 and 2011, Burr participated frequently in competitions. She started in USA Powerlifting as a 138-pound competitor before joining the ADFPF at 148 pounds.
She participated in three lifts: deadlift, squat and bench press. In deadlift, the competitor lifts a straight bar from the ground-up with their chosen weight.
In 2008, Burr competed in her first World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation, of which the ADFPF belongs to, event in Evansville, Ind. She again competed in a WDFPF world event in 2011 in Muskegon. She set world records in the Master 3 (ages 50 to 54) class in both events, which still stand today: 370-pound deadlift, 252-pound squat and a 170-pound bench press.
Burr didn't need to look very far for support as her husband, DuWayne, also competed as a powerlifter until being sidelined because of a health issue.
"We worked out together for so many years," DuWayne said. "I know her and I know what she can do. I never worked out as hard as she does."
Seeing a woman older that 50 years of age lift more weight than many men in their 20s has turned many heads, Carol said.
"I’ve had people come up to me at events and compliment me about how well I’m doing at my age," she said. "It feels good to have people actually recognize your hard work."
Despite success in powerlifting, Carol had to step away from the sport to pursue higher education. She attended Baker College in Cadillac in 2011 to study medical assisting, of which she is now certified.
"It was a little frustrating when I had to leave the sport," Carol said. "But in the same sense, I knew it would be a brief period because my education came first. I made the choice to go back to school full time. I still worked out during that time to maintain a certain percentage of my strength, but my focus was school for those three years.
"Starting competition in 2005 and then making it to my first world competition in 2008 was a big step for me. I was competing three or four times a year until 2011, so I am definitely coming off my longest break."
Now that she's done with her schooling and is working in her new profession, Carol has time to focus on training for her next ADFPF competition. She will compete in the Master 4 class (ages 55 to 59), which opens up the opportunity to earn acclaim in a whole new division.
When asked what she is expecting when she competes for the first time in four years, Carol’s answer is simple.
"I expect to set records," she said with a smile. "I want to go there and gauge where I’m at now, see where my strength is really at. I’m not going to second guess myself at all, though."
Regardless of how well Carol does in September, she will continue to compete in her sport for years to come.
"I want to be able to lift weights until I can’t anymore," she said. "It's really that simple to me."