IKMF Marathon World Championships 2017

Vanzaghello, Italy, that was the destination for the 2017 IKMF World Championships. This was my first attempt on the world stage for a marathon event. I’d had a pretty miserable time of it some 3 weeks prior at the GSU British championships. A fair portion of skin decided to part company with my hands at about the 40 minute mark and blood became a bit of an issue.

We arrived in Italy in Italy on the Thursday and soon got aquatinted with the Norwegian team who were all staying in the same motel. On the Friday, via a shared taxi, we arrived at the venue for the weigh in. The venue was a big sports hall which was kind of in the middle of nowhere. You certainly couldn’t walk anywhere meaningful from that location other than a train station. It’s a good functional space though with good lighting, tiered seating and plenty of room for an event such as this. There was no preparation done at the hall at that point.

Weighing in was relatively painless. Made the payment for my two events and was out of there on a train to Milan in no time at all.

Competition Day Number One.

We arrived at the venue today to find that it had been transformed. 8 platforms, banners, mats, podiums and all the other things essential for a big competition were all set up and ready to go. Looked great actually.

kettlebell world championship - sandy doyle
Sandy Doyle giving it her all

Long cycle jerk – Half Marathon – 28 kg

Not my primary lift and MS rank was the goal although it wasn’t fully realised in my own head so wasn’t banking on this happening. Probably why it didn’t. Set off too fast at 13 RPM and kind of got a bit burnt out in the last 10 minutes. I found in my prep that I’m a lot more comfortable with a 24 kg bell for an hour at 12 RPM than I am a 28 kg bell at 11 RPM for 30 minutes. My home PB here is 321 reps. At the comp I had 10 no counts as a result of a slightly bent right leg in the overhead position. Result was 307 reps so some way off my best. Hands seem to be in good order though on completion so that was a relief.

My best here for a 1 hour set of LC jerks with a 24kg bell is 706 reps. This was a verified set for CMS rank (550 reps) This is MS numbers and I am fairly certain I could do MSWC here in veteran class (750 reps) so this may be a future goal. For some reason I am a long way ahead here in comparison to the 30 minute set where I am struggling to hit MS numbers.

Great day today though. The IKMF are a very welcoming and friendly organisation. The general vibe at the event was both serious and playful. A great combination. The organisation of the event was very sharp and things got underway bang on schedule. We had a brief opening ceremony first. I was the lone Team England member and dutifully carried out the England plaque when my country was called. Each country representative was given a framed certificate with an acknowledgement of their countries participation. Very nice too.

It was really super to meet people for the first time after only knowing them via social media. Stephane greeted me very warmly and presented me with a T shirt. Lots of others too said hi to me as I milled around taking it all in. By the time I left, I had 3 more T shirts to my name including one from Team Norway!

kettlebell world championship - per olhans
Per Olhans with one of his 4 lifts

I had my camera with me and decided to set about taking photos at the event. There didn’t seem to be any official photographer on duty so I was more than happy to help out here. It’s a good distraction for me and less fraught than shooting at a GS event due to the time you have with each flight. I took over 700 pictures over the two days

Competition Day Number Two

Half Snatch – Full Marathon – 24 kg

My main lift and the one 80 percent of my training had been aimed at. Been hitting some really good numbers here in training. My best efforts prior to this competition are listed below.

  • 24 kg x 30 minutes x 539 reps (for UGC)
  • 24 kg x 45 minutes x 705 reps
  • 24 kg x 1 hour x 843 reps
  • 26 kg x 480 reps (UGC)
  • 28 kg x 20 minutes x 323 reps
  • 32 kg x 30 minutes x 332 reps
  • Double 16 kg x 30 minutes x 400 reps (proud of that one, thought I was going to die)


850 reps was the target here as it was at the GSU British championships. I failed there due to my hands falling apart as already mentioned. I managed to go the hour but at a pitiful 7 RPM in the final 10 minutes. I made 754 reps so some 96 reps shy of target.

I was lifting at 9 am and this was another concern for me as I never lift at that time normally. I was also worried about my hands of course but at least on this occasion I had a good chance to work on getting the bell prepped to my liking.

Bell prepped, I stepped out onto the platform alongside a true great of marathon lifting, Andreas Jacobsen. Next to him was Thomas Barthomeuf, another great athlete who’s always kicking my ass in the Online Kettlebell Challenge Cup. We were all going to be doing half snatch but at different speeds I was targeting 14/15 RPM to make my 850. Andreas was aiming for 1050 reps so 17/18 RPM. Thats a really fast pace for the hour.

kettlebell world championship - stephane dogman
Stephane ‘Dogman” doing his thing!

I’ve managed a half marathon at that pace but certainly don’t have the conditioning for an hour. But (theres always a but) I am 10 years his senior and a lighter athlete so need to put things into perspective. It was still quite disconcerting to see Andreas stomping away out in front of me though.

I was comfortable cardio wise throughout my set. 30 minutes in I had 440 reps so was slightly ahead of target. This was probably just as well as I noticed my hands were starting to sting at around that time also, thats never a good sign and flashbacks to the British Champs were not a welcome feature here. Cracked on though as there was a lot at stake. I came along way to achieve this so there was no way I was going to let my hands spoil the occasion. And it didn’t. I got the job done with 854 reps. It would have been nice to have had a sprint finish like Andreas did but wasn’t to be.

That was my lifting over and done with. There were a few athletes doing 4 lifts, 2 on each day. Thats an incredible amount of work. I’m not sure I’d be up for that. Big congratulations to them though. I won’t single out any particular performances here but there were some mighty efforts put in, some truly inspirational stuff which only helps to light the fire in me even more.

The medals and awards were carried out as the event went on with no interruption to the actual lifting. This is a really great idea as the running time was already fairly lengthy. Everyone got a medal I believe but there were different size trophies to denote what position you finished in. We also got certificates on the day with our lift, reps and position we finished in.

The rest of my day was spent taking more pictures some of which can be seen here.

All in all, a great event which was very well run and hosted by Stephane and Oleh and their respective teams. I am now looking forward to heading off to the European Championships in Ireland and then onto the next World Championships in Spain, only this time I won’t be alone and we will be a proper Team England!Post navigation