No mountain too high as Encirc’s Claire powers to Irish strongwoman title

April 2024
Claire Dolan on her way to winning the OSG Ireland’s Strongest Woman 2024 (Masters) title. Photo: Tony Farrell.
A delighted Claire with her two biggest supporters, Dom and Dillon.

Encirc’s Claire Dolan won the OSG Ireland’s Strongest Woman 2024 (Masters) title in Galway recently, an amazing win that has now qualified her to compete in the world finals in the United States at the end of the year.

Claire’s rise through the ranks in this popular sport, which is the ultimate test of your all-around body strength, has been quite meteoric given that she only started competing 12 months ago after watching her husband, fellow Encirc employee Dom, take part in men’s events.

Claire thought “I could do that” and how right she was, fulfilling her dreams quickly and becoming an Irish champion in just under a year.

Remarkably, Claire, who has worked with Encirc, a Vidrala Group company, for 18 years and is a Production Planner at its Derrylin site in Northern Ireland, achieved her win on Saturday despite breaking a bone in her foot when a 160kg frame hit her in the fourth of five disciplines.

“I can’t believe that I won the title in Galway. I went there thinking if I could get on the podium then that would be a good achievement. I am delighted and extremely proud of what I have achieved,” said Claire who added.

“It just shows what you can do. I turned 40 last year and just thought, having watched Dom compete, that I would give it a go and see where that takes me. I started last April, Dom and I both won our respective competitions that day and it has just continued on from that. Life begins at 40,” she laughed.

To land the Irish title, Claire had to compete in five different disciplines in one day which included the likes of 160kg and 180kg deadlifts, running with a 170kg yoke into a 70kg sandbag,  and an overhead press with a 55kg log.

Claire performed superbly but it was not all plain sailing as she explained.

“Everything was going so well, I won the first three events but in the fourth one which was running two 10 metre sections with a 160kg frame, when I set the frame down after the first 10 metres, it hit the back of my foot. I then lifted the frame and ran the final 10 metres. The adrenaline kept me going but then I realised with the pain that I had done some damage.

“The final event was Max Atlas Stone, I already had the title in the bag because of my earlier results but there was no way I was not competing in the final leg. So, I went out, did my best and completed the discipline. I went up to x-ray on my return home and that showed a broken bone, so I am in a boot for the next four weeks. It was quite a day!”

Claire trains three times per week at DC Fitness in Irvinestown and is extremely grateful for all the support she has received.

“It has been brilliant; I could not do this without the support I receive from everyone. Dom competes as well so his advice is great. I was not sure if I was up to this level but he encouraged me to go for it and it was just brilliant to have my son Dillon there on Saturday as well, it’s a real family affair,” she said.

Claire has now qualified to compete in Britain’s Strongest Woman competition in the Masters section in York on June 22 and the Official Strongman Games world finals in Madison, Wisconsin at the start of December.

And her success has certainly whetted her appetite for more.

“I am looking forward to competing in the British championships and I will have to see if we can make the world finals in Wisconsin at the start of December work. It would be a great experience, so we will see.”

‘It just shows what you can do. I turned 40 last year and just thought, having watched Dom compete, that I would give it a go and see where that takes me’

Claire Dolan

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