MultiCare Rockwood Clinic teammates place in national bench press championships
Sure, it’s called powerlifting, but Marie Brenden and Renea Lang are showing what their real power is with their recent wins at the National Bench Press Championships.
Brenden, ARNP, is in oncology at MultiCare Rockwood Clinic Cancer and Blood Specialty Center in Spokane Valley for 9 years, and Lang is a scheduler at the same clinic who has been with Rockwood Clinic for 31 years. The two are on the same all-female powerlifting team — Iron Maidens. Both got back into competitive powerlifting over the past few years.
In that short span of time, though, both have exemplified the power of dedicating oneself to one’s work, both in the clinic and at the gym.
At the 2019 National Bench Press Championships, Brenden placed first in her age and weight class and third overall among all women and ages, with a bench press of 253 pounds. With that placing, she will travel to the Czech Republic in May to compete at the World Powerlifting Championships.
Lang also placed first in her weight and age division with a bench press of 84 pounds. She says she plans to compete at the world competition as well if she can get to the weight she hopes — between 95 and 100 pounds or more.
The sport is not one that someone stumbles into casually. Both say they had been part of the powerlifting world in their 20s but only began competitive training again in the past few years.
At 55, Brenden says she fell out of the sport after having children, but following three neck surgeries in just five years, she felt the need to reinvest in her physical health.
“It took me a few years to really recover from it, but it goes to show you can recover if you are smart about it and do it slow,” she says. “We all have to start somewhere. After my neck surgeries I started in the pool with noodles.”
For Lang, 56, she says it’s the challenge of the sport that keeps her coming back to it.
“I most enjoy challenging myself,” she says. “The most challenging aspect is when doing the competition and having to listen to commands when you do the bench press.”
Training is year-round for the Iron Maidens.
“The time it takes to train properly is the hardest,” Brenden says. “You have to force yourself to go. I go at 4:30 in the morning so I’m not too tired to after work.”
The Iron Maidens are part of the USAPL, a drug-free powerlifting league. Brenden says the league promotes a healthy version of getting strong and provides a supportive community.
“It really is a community of people. They cheer for you regardless if you’re a rookie or veteran,” she says. “And for women, I think it really empowers them and helps them to be a stronger version of themselves, inside and outside of the gym.”
Both say the sport also helps when it comes to daily work at the clinic. It teaches stress management and how to stay calm under difficult challenges.
About The Author
Samantha Malott is the internal communications specialist for the MultiCare Inland Northwest's marketing team. She brings her love for storytelling from her 5 years of experience in the newspaper industry as a reporter, editor and page designer. She is a proud Washington State University Cougar and an Eatonville native. More stories by this author