Kelso native Heather Gurnow sets Missouri Powerlifting Records

Heather Gurnow poses with her medal after the Missouri River Open in St. Louis on December 10, 2022.
Submitted by Heather Gurnow

As the clock strikes 3 a.m. most people are sound asleep, but not Heather Gurnow.

Gurnow, a Kelso native is a veterinary technician that works a minimum of 50 hours a week, 5 days a week.

On top of that, Gurnow is a powerlifter and wakes up at 3 every morning to get her daily training in.

“I get up, I get my training in and I go to work,” Gurnow said. “I work my 10 to 12-hour shift depending on the day, I come home, recover and then get up and do it again.”

Gurnow found powerlifting after beginning to work out following the passing of her mother.

“Seven years ago my mom passed away from health related issues,” Gurnow said. “When my mom passed away I started working out and changed my diet and then about a year later I discovered powerlifting.”

For Gurnow, she fell in love with powerlifting instantly.

“I’ve always been fascinated with being strong,” Gurnow said. “I believe that women can be empowered to be strong women and take up space and still make a name for themselves. That’s what I set out to do.”

On Dec. 10, Gurnow broke 5 Missouri Women’s Powerlifting Records at the USAPL Missouri River Open in St. Louis.

“It was my first powerlifting competition and I just wanted to go in and have fun,” Gurnow said. “But, I also set out to break some records.”

Gurnow holds the record for squats at 303.1 pounds, the record for bench press single lift at 154.3 pounds, the record for deadlift at 363.8 pounds, the record for most total weight at 821.2 pounds and the record for total push-pull at 518.1 pounds.

“I knew in the back of my mind that these were the records that were being held,” Gurnow said. “As soon as I broke that first record I was elated. After I set the first record I broke my own record on the next lift. I don’t even know how to describe it. It was an amazing feeling and I was just the happiest girl in the room.”

Gurnow hopes she can inspire other women while on her own journey.

“I hope to show girls that being strong isn’t something to be ashamed of,” Gurnow said. “The weight room has been male-dominated for so long and women are so scared of picking up a barbell and just being in the weight room and being present and taking up space, but strength is beautiful.”

Gurnow also hopes that more people become involved in powerlifting.

“I think it’s important that people know that powerlifting is a sport,” Gurnow said. “It’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s a great community and you can go and crush state and national records.

While Gurnow said she hasn’t registered for competition yet in 2023, it still could be in the cards. To follow along with her journey and future competitions you can follow Gurnow on Instagram ‘@HeggySmash’.

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