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Burch sets world record in powerlifting



Mike Burch stands in his workout room with his new medals. Photo by David Lee

BOSTON CORNERS – Mike Burch of Boston Corners has been testing his strength by lifting weights since he was six years old. That was back in 1956. Now 67 years later he continues to compete for powerlifting medals. On November 4th he deadlifted 505 pounds to earn a world record in the American Powerlifting Association for his weight and age.
Competitive powerlifting typically has three events: the deadlift, which is picking up weighted barbells from the floor to a standing position: the squat, which means holding a loaded barbell across your shoulders, lifting it off a rack, squatting and lifting back to a standing position; and the bench press, which is lifting the barbell while lying supine on a bench. But there is much more to it than that, and many classes and categories. Mr. Burch competed in the 181 pound class in the masters 70-74 year old category.
The competition he entered, called the Vinnie Vardine Classic, was conducted through the American Powerlifting Association and was held at the Supreme Fitness Gym in Brattleboro, VT. There were 22 lifters in the competition: men, women, masters and youth. To his 505 pound deadlift, which earned him a world record for his age and weight in the American Powerlifting Association, he added a squat lift of 210 pounds which is an APA national record for his age and weight. He says he took it easy on the bench press to save himself for the deadlift.
“Of 30 lifters, I was the oldest guy there,” he said. “I’m the only one left of the old crew.”
In the back of Burch’s garage, which is filled with motorcycles and his hotrod, is his training room piled with barbell weights. The walls are covered with trophy shelves, photographs and clippings telling of his athletic achievements (as well as those of his children) dating all the way back to the days when he played football for the Van Renssealer High School.
Mr. Burch trains 4 days a week. “You have to have a good mind set and never miss a workout.”
“My next meet will probably be in July,” he said. “It takes 8 months to get ready. My goal is to lift 600 pounds in the 220 pound classification.”
“I owe a lot to my grandson Eli,” Mr. Burch said. “He is the one who encouraged me to get out there and start lifting again.”
Mr. Burch also credits the encouragement he got in the early days from friends like Joe White, Eddie Card, Dick Tracy and Bob Pendergast.

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