Wrapping a line around her arm, Holly Miller pulled a three-ton truck nearly 50 feet in 90 seconds.
She put her all into moving the vehicle, grabbing the rope hand over hand until she was almost lying down, then repeating — almost like rowing.
“I like doing stuff like that,” said the 38-year-old Amherst Steele High School teacher. “It’s just so cool. You’re pulling a truck. How many people can say they pulled a truck.”
The truck pull was the big event at the World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition in London, where Miller placed first in her division earlier this month.
There’s a small catch: “I was actually the only person in the world who showed up in my division, so I ended up winning by default,” she said.
Four women competed in the strongman competition. Miller was alone in the women’s seated category, though she bested all three standing division contestants by a long shot in the truck pull.
She qualified for the international event after topping the podium in May at the America’s Strongest Disabled Athlete Strongman Competition. She was among the first women from the United States to be accepted to the world championship.
From May to September, Miller trained five days a week at Blind Dog Gym in Vermilion. She benches 120 pounds and deadlifts about 250.
“In the scheme of things, it’s not that much but I could hardly lift the bar when I started, so I’ll take it,” she said.
The competition is for people with physical disabilities. Miller has psoriatic arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that has destroyed her back by attacking healthy tissue. X-rays would show metal brackets and screws that hold her spine together after four surgeries, including a spinal fusion and spinal cord stimulator implantation.
She lives with moderate pain every day, and working out has helped relieve it.
Cardio workouts, especially running and jumping, are far more painful than lifting, she said.
The American competition will be held next year in Columbus. Miller plans to be there — and this time she wants to qualify for the World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition in the standing division, where she can take on more challengers.
“I would love to talk to more people and get more people involved,” she said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.