by Al Myers
Recently I have had some email correspondance with a lifter interested in the Inman Mile. Of course the first question EVER asked regarding this event is - ”HAS IT EVER BEEN DONE?” The Inman Mile is definitely unlike all of the other official lifts of the USAWA. First of all, it can hardly be called a lift. It is the only official lift in the USAWA Rule Book where poundage is not listed in the record list. Instead, this event is for TIME. Let’s start with a review of the rules:
USAWA Rules for the Inman Mile
The lifter will take a bar onto the shoulders with a weight equal to 150 per cent of the lifter’s bodyweight. The lifter will then carry this weight a distance of one mile. Gait is optional. Stopping to rest is allowed, but neither the lifter nor the weight may be supported in any manner. The bar must not be touched by any assistants once the mile has begun or it will be a disqualification. The bar must stay on the back the entire mile. The lifter may be handed refreshments during the mile. Records will be kept for time.
Now to the answer whether it has ever been done. IT HAS NOT (at least not officially in the USAWA). Since it has not been completed EVER no records are recorded for it in both the USAWA and IAWA Record Lists. The rules specifically state that “records will be kept for time”. A good attempt at this doesn’t get you a record for distance. You must finish the Mile. I have received several emails in the past asking about this novelty event in the USAWA. I have always responded that if the person in question could succeed with the Inman Mile (maybe a little video proof would need to be provided to me), I would do whatever was needed in order to help them get this listed as an “official record” in our organization. Even if this included me getting on a plane and flying to the coast for the weekend, or enlisting someone I know in the area who is an active reputable official for the USAWA to go there and witness and officiate it. I also have said that accomplishing the Inman Mile would have to be considered as one of the BEST STRENGTH FEATS ever done in the USAWA. I really hope someday someone does accomplish it. I have enough sense to know that this is something I could NEVER DO, so “that person” will not be me. I know lifters who have tried, and some who I thought might have a chance, but in all instances they failed miserably. The limit is always maintaining the bar on the shoulders. As you tire, the bar slips down the back, and once this happens the hope for the mile is lost.
As I already said, I consider this a novelty lift in the USAWA. We have a few others in our list of official lifts that would fit this category as well. There has been talk of eliminating some of these obscure lifts that no one can do from the USAWA list of official lifts in the past, but truthfully, I don’t think that is a good idea. I say this because eventually someone WILL do them, and when they do, it will become something to talk about! I receive as many inquistive emails regarding these lifts as the others. I guess you could call it curiosity appeal – and it turn gives exposure to the USAWA.
If you do an internet search on the Inman Mile you will see it “pop up” several times. Often it appears in forums, where this “challenge” is mentioned by someone. I even found talk of it in some backpacking forums. I KNOW the USAWA is the root behind all this, as we are the ones who in a sense, created the Inman Mile. However, no one knows “the story” behind the Inman Mile besides maybe only a few of us. I wouldn’t know it if it wasn’t for person responsible for naming it telling me! And that person is NONE OTHER than the FATHER of the USAWA Bill Clark. So I plan to tell it here for the first time on the internet. Bill named this lift after Jerry Inman, a powerlifter who was originally from Billings, Missouri (and a leader in a well known powerlifting club at the time – the Billings Barbell Club). The time frame of this was the late 1970s and early 1980s. Jerry was a marine (and it would take a hard-headed marine to come up with something this grueling). For a while, he lived in Olathe, Kansas. When he found Bill Clark’s gym in Columbia, Missouri he was introduced to all-round weightlifting by Bill. When Jerry Inman told Bill he thought he could walk a mile with a bar loaded to 150% of his bodyweight on his back, it inspired Bill to name this event after him. Jerry was never successful with this quest, but his mindset of THINKING he could do it and the effort of taking on the impossible, lead to this mysterious event to be forever named after him! His best effort of 246 yards in 1979 is recorded in an old Missouri Valley Newsletter . Jerry was a fit 148# powerlifting marine, in the prime of his life when he tried also. It would take someone like that to even have a remote chance of being successful with the Inman Mile. But when it does happen – I want to be there firsthand to watch it!