Caraway wins US Strongman Nationals, while on family vacation

“I’ve been doing this for so many years,” says Dan Caraway. “I really wanted to win one.” 

Caraway is no stranger to Strongman competitions. For years, he’s been the West Virginia representative for US Strongman, organizing events in which other athletes compete. 

He also is a fierce and respected competitor, having placed second on two occasions in the US Strongman Nationals, Open Division, and competing in the World Strongman. 

But up until last month, Caraway had never won. That changed in Denver, Colorado. 

A resounding victory

“My family wanted to go out west for a trip,” Dan shares. “We drove 6,800 miles together and got to see our beautiful country.” 

The trip took them everywhere from Las Vegas, NV, to Yellowstone National Park to Anaheim, CA. But it all began in Denver, where Dan competed against 21 other Strongman athletes. 

“I competed as a midweight in the Master’s Division,” Dan explains. “Master’s is for competitors age 40 and up, and midweight is up to 220 pounds.” 

Athletes qualify for the nationals in one of two ways. They either must be Top 3 in a sanctioned event or be a state representative. Dan qualified via the latter route. 

“I figured I’d do pretty well,” he offers. “It was highly competitive this year. The guy who won last year came in fourth this year.” 

Dan is 42 years old, but this was his first time competing at the Master’s level. “I turn 43 this summer,” he says. “I had mixed emotions about competing in the Master’s.” 

Having competed successfully in the Open Division for years, taking second twice, Dan knows he’s capable of winning at any level. But he’s getting older and prioritizing his fitness goals. 

“I didn’t want to be too stressed out,” he says. “I wanted to have more fun and enjoy the trip with the family.”

Not only was Dan able to enjoy the trip, but he began it with a resounding victory. He totaled 92.5 points, winning the Master’s Division by a whopping ten points over his nearest competitor. 

Dan’s fitness goals

Coming off the victory and building on a successful career, you might expect Dan to double down in his training in search of more Strongman success. But Dan has different plans. 

“My goal is to be fit my whole life,” he says. “The past year and a half I’ve focused more on my overall fitness as I’m getting older. Couple of mile runs. Kickboxing. Pickleball.”

“It would be popular to say I came in in prime condition, but i didn’t,” Dan confesses. “My bodyweight is lower than it’s been in 20 years because I have been more concerned with my overall health than strength training lately.”

Dan Caraway lounges on family vacation following his win at the 2024 US Strongman Nationals.

Why the change? “My long term goal is wanting to be in good shape when I’m a grandpa.”

That doesn’t mean he will stop competing. “I might do some arm wrestling or kickboxing. I want to have fun from here on out and be fit for life.”

Dan will host West Virginia’s Strongest again this October 19 in Ronceverte, WV, at Greenbrier Valley Physical Fitness, owned by Dwight Bundy. Stay tuned to RealWV for details. 

For full results from the US Strongman 2024, click here.

Dan’s friend and fellow Strongman competitor from West Virginia, AJ Frieda, joined the Caraways along with his family for the trip to Colorado.
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