NB woman starts powerlifting at 50, wins bronze at international event at 61

Fredericton’s Fran Harris is not new to national competition.

In fact, she has competed nationally in five different sports. But a new venture for the 61-year-old was competing internationally – a childhood dream Harris recently realized.

« Hard to believe I must have been 61 before I [could] to fill [that dream,]Harris said. « I guess the value of never giving up comes in handy on the road. »

Harris began powerlifting in his early 50s. She competed at the national level and qualified to represent Canada at the World Masters Powerlifting Championships in St. John’s, NL.

Powerlifting includes three categories: a squat, a bench press, and a deadlift. Competitors perform three lifts in each category and the highest scores in each category are tallied.

The squat tests lower body and quadriceps strength, the bench press involves the upper body, and the deadlift involves the hamstrings and back, Harris said.

As a lifelong athlete, she said she always hangs out in the weight room, but it wasn’t until 2013 when she discovered CrossFit that she discovered powerlifting.

Harris said certain things have kept her involved in the sport over the years.

Fran Harris finished third overall, winning a bronze medal and a total of 312.5 points. (Submitted by Fran Harris)

She has a bad right knee and has had more than 10 surgeries. She said it limits what she can do athletically. She can’t cycle as much and while she would love to try pickleball, she said her knee couldn’t handle it.

But weightlifting was always something she could do.

« If my knee hurts one day then I don’t do squats, I can do other things. So I think it just helps with my overall fitness and obviously my health, » Harris said.

Compete on the international stage

Harris said competing internationally in Newfoundland was « an amazing experience. »

« Even though it was just in St. John’s, when you walked into the room and heard the different languages ​​and stuff, it really felt like a world championship, » she said.

Harris ended up winning a bronze medal with a total of 312.5 points. She said she was happy with her deadlift and very happy with her 105 kilogram squat, although she admitted to being disappointed with her bench press.

She said she thought she would take a break, but not hitting a national record on the bench makes her want to go back and try again.

« I have more room to grow if I want to. And even if I don’t want to compete anymore, [there’s] the health benefits I get from lifting weights,” Harris said. “I don’t think I will stop lifting weights.

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