Picture Contest: Worst Competition Shots

Long after the struggle of the training cycle, the burning pain in the lungs and the thrill of finally crossing the finish line (or deadlifting that car), competition pictures stay with us as reminders of our triumph over adversity. Some, we share with friends, while others – where we scowled instead of smiled, or were plotting ways to shuffle off this mortal coil – get exiled to a folder somewhere deep in the labyrinth of the hard drive.

What follows is an epic compilation of just that sort of picture.  Winners receive a free tub of Intra-Formance and the knowledge that their suffering brings us all joy.


Ben Smith

“This picture was taken on one of the 10 laps of Peyton’s Wild and Wacky Ultra. It was a 5K on the hour for 10 hours (50K total). Each lap started and finished in the same location and it was interesting planning for a race that had so much starting and stopping but I felt prepared and recovered quickly from it.”




Kristine Rae Olmsted

Pictured with her first USPA American Record squat, masters 40-44, 90+ kilo, single-ply. January 2016.



Stevan Dixon

“The photo is from the 200 meter finals at his years Masters Outdoor Championship. I’m fast but not the smoothest runner.”



CHP client Jon Cohen and friend Samantha experience the water obstacle of the Fort Carson Spartan Super on May 14, 2017.


Devon Zajicek

“This was this past February — Super Spartan Race in Arizona! about 8-10 miles or so…this was the final obstacle, jumping through the fire! (or right before I actually jumped)”



Steven Blais

“This was actually my 36th birthday, and billionth Spartan Race. So all of my fire jump pictures looked absolutely the same. I figured – let’s try something fun. Originally I was going to cartwheel it, but then I realized that my face would literally be in fire. So Plan B – somersault. But a 2′ wide pit of fire isn’t the best for a quick roll…which I realized mid-air. So, I landed ass first onto a pile of gravel, leaving with a huge bruise on my ass, a small fracture of my tailbone, and this amazing photo for posterity. And Posteriority.”



Edward Yanick

“Several miles into the Spartan Beast, I ran up on the muddy barbed wire crawl. I clumsily tripped over my own feet and dove face first into the nasty mud water! I may or may not have swallowed a mouthful as well…”



Samantha Stout

“This was a meet with the International Powerlifting Association in York, PA in March of 2016. First time pulling 250lbs, it had been a twelve hour day already, my body was tired and cramping and protesting but, as my face clearly shows, I wasn’t going to give up. I got it up but I was called for hitching and in the video version you can see me limp off with a giant charlie horse in my hamstring.”



Kamil Ogórek

“This race was “Runmageddon Hardcore, 25km (15.5mi) Mountain OCR with over 70 obstacles, taking place on 31st May 2015 in Myślenice, Poland. Back then, it was known as the hardest OCR in Europe.”



Roman Soboliev

“Captured is my (successful) 300kg attempt at WPC meet, where I placed third in 90kg class.”



Sebastian Skovlund

“In the beginning of a 21 kilometer race I felt good and decided to advance from my pacing group and not stop for either water or energy drinks, even though it was hot that day (and I was wearing far too much clothes). From kilometer 14, a long hill killed me – so much my pacing group – and lots of other people – overtook me, and I had to alternate running and WALKING the last kilometres just to make it to the finish line. Humiliating, but educational experience.”



Gabrielle Alyse

“I’m attempting to deadlift a fancy sports car at NC strongest’s. This was my second strongman competition of back to back competition weekends and weight cuts. Clearly, my neck veins were the real MVPs of this event.”



Scott Brackemyer

“I was trying to quickly get over and down the wall at Rugged Manic and I ended up going down backwards which caused my short to come off. The camera guy caught me laughing and then fell off his chair laughing. I hated this shot cause I look like a fat guy but it’s been my most popular post.”



Michael Fiorella

“‘Hey Mike, you were in the Army! You love this stuff!’ they said. ‘C’mon, it’ll be fun!’ they said. Clearly, my first Spartan race was not ‘fun’.”



Robin Melcher

“Getting stopped by the police in Detroit during our Go Ruck Challenge because our team weight was a rocket launcher.”



Alison Dann

“I traveled from Tasmania to Queensland to compete to qualify for the Australian Arnold Classic and this was the last event of the day, 80kg atlas stone for reps in 60 secs, so I was tired and just had to dig deep and push myself to the end.”


Jack Grady

“So this was my first ever powerlifting meet, squatting 330lbs for the first time in my life. It was my senior year at Duke and I had always wanted to try a meet before I left. Luckily Duke organized a small competition at the Duke rec center, and it was a blast! I owe a lot to the people like Alex Viada and others that gave me advice and tips on how to be a better and safer lifter. I can’t wait to do another meet once I get back to the states.”



Steve Messenger

“This was on the mud crawl obstacle at the Tough Mountain Challenge OCR on 7/29/17. It’s a 4.1 mile OCR at the Sunday River ski resort in Maine.”



Adam Bucek

“Picture was taken during mountain biking in “Krušné Hory” after cca 60km we suddenly approach very steam downhill and I was supprised I lost my focus hit brakes and then I just roll down.”



Some of these pictures were just so good (cringe-worthy?) that we had to pick more than one winner for the grand prize of the contest: two tubs of Intraformance, an endurance hydration supplement formulated by Alex Viada in conjunction with 1st Phorm.


Without further ado-


Geoffrey Miller

“About 20 Miles into a Spartan Ultra Beast. The camera guy asked me to smile.”


Shelby Irene Smith

“The worst part is I knew there would be a photo for this one and I thought about it all race–the sweet face I was going to make as I went flying off the bottom of the slide….womp womp womp. Fail.”


Corine Blok

“It was a CrossFit competition and I was competing against young ‘uns. I was determined not to end last. This WOD was very cardio and very long (not my strength) and had loads and loads of burpees, this is during the last minute I guess and it hurt like a bitch, not even sure whether I am moving towards the floor or the ceiling (don’t think I knew at that moment either). I just wanted it to be over, and I did not want to quit. The picture was taken by a photographer from my box that was going to make sure I had some nice pictures. I was envisioning a perfectly executed snatch or at least something of me looking moderately elegant, not this!”