Preston powerlifter wins silver in strongwoman competition after injury

Laura-Jayne Sumner, 35, came in second place at last weekend’s Preston’s strongest woman competition – just a year after having surgery, reports Ben Shingler.

The tournament took place at Kaos Strength Gym in Preston last Sunday, with both male & female categories.

The event comprised of deadlifts and overhead sandbag medleys, amongst more, and was refereed by Deadlift World Champion Rhiannon Lovelace.

Laura-Jayne Sumner competing in the strongest woman competition, credit: Laura-Jayne Sumner

Sumner started training for strongwoman competitions five years ago, after her grandfather had been diagnosed with cancer.

She said: “I started the gym in 2018 because my grandad had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and I wanted a positive outlet to help me through the grieving process.

“I began with circuit style training then moved to compounds (squat, bench and deadlifting) and loved seeing the progression in weights through powerlifting. I then moved to strongwoman training.”

In September 2021, Sumner suffered her first injury – a box jump mishap caused a hole in her leg straight to the bone which led to her first surgery.

“To be honest with this one I was really upset, it hit me hard. I felt like I would be starting from scratch when I went back to training,” she said.

Things then went from bad to worse for Sumner, who had another injury during a competition in February last year.

“I then broke my hand after the first event in a competition, I carried on without knowing it was broken,” she said.

“I needed surgery again and had a plate put in to re-attach my bone, as the break meant it wasn’t even touching.”

After struggling with the two injuries, her most recent triumph was one to celebrate after claiming a podium finish.

“The competition was such an amazing day and the fact I podiumed was actually quite overwhelming,” she said.

“I don’t think there is any secret formula that is going to work for everyone other than consistency.

“I am unbelievably happy about the result. You have to fall in love with the process, not just the end goal.”

Sumner has already got plans for two more competitions before the end of the year, and she ‘cannot wait to compete again.’