On Saturday 19 November Liesl became the first woman in South Africa to pull a 10 ton truck over a distance of 20 meters. She continued pulling till she stopped over the 40 meters mark, scared she was going to run out of “runway”.
The strongwoman in Liesl was born while training for her Robben Island Swim. Various men came to her and told her she is intimidating and extremely strong. She never knew this and purely trained to be able to complete her swim challenge.
“There was no point in leg pressing 100 kg/220 lbs if I could do more than 200 kg/ 440 lbs. My leg press record is now at 640 kg/ 1408 lbs. I was training with 130kg/286 lbs on an olympic bar for shrugs” Liesl explains.
She continues, “Every week I would challenge myself to lifting heavier weights and the comments kept rolling in. I then decided to do what I do best, adapt. I asked around if there are any strongwoman competitions in South Africa and sadly found out there is no such thing”.
She had to settle for the next best thing…create her own challenges and hope she would meet other strong woman along the way.
She decided to pull a 10 ton truck with a body harness only and spent about 7 months doing intense training. Thanks to Isuzu trucks she was given the opportunity to train in their truck yard any time with any size truck. “It was like a kid walking into a candy store. I arrived and was asked, what size truck would you like?” Liesl tells with a smile. Getting a harness was a challenge in itself.
You can imagine a 40 year old woman walking into a safety gear store and asking if they sell body harnesses for truck pulling. “What are you pulling the truck with?” was a question she heard too often. Her answer? “ughm, my legs?” Eventually, out od pure frustration she made her own harness. “it bruised me badly but hey, I am not exactly the kind of girl who cries over a few bruises”.