UK Strongest Man
The UK’s Strongest Man;
Belfast Ultimate Strongman Giant Weekend - August 2011:
The Ultimate Strongest Man festival of strength was a 5 day showcase of competitions comprising of the UK’s Strongest Man title, the Jnr UK’s title and on the final day, the World’s Masters Competition with a worldwide line up. This is the write up for the UK’s Strongest Man.
Following qualifier competitions in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, 16 of the UK’s Strongest Men gathered together in Belfast on Wednesday 24th August in preparation to do battle over the following 2 qualifying days and the 3rd day being the final. The 16 athletes were split into 2 groups of 8, which would be whittled down to 6 by the end of day 2 and 4 by the end of day 2. This would leave the remaining 8 athletes to compete in the final for the CNP Trophy for the UK’s Strongest Man 2011.
Eddie Hall, Rob Drennan and Mark Lawson (England)
Ken Nowicki and Louis Maclean (Scotland)
Richard Smith (Wales)
Paul Roberts and Nicky Whelan (Ireland)
Tom Shaw, Liam O’Sullivan and Paul Carter (England)
Stephen Cherrie and John Hutton (Scotland)
Simon Johnston (Wales)
Jonathan Kelly and Richard Looney (Ireland)
Day 1; Thursday 25th August. The whole competition was held at the Odyssey Queen’s Quay in Belfast and refereed by Magnus Samuelson. The events for the 1st day were:
1) Duck walk and Lorry drag; Carry a weight between your legs over the course, run back and try to drag an articulated lorry down the same course.
2) The Human Wheelbarrow; Pick up the Wheelbarrow loaded with 7 Irish Dancers and run it down the course.
3) Car Deadlift hold; Pick up a car and hold onto it for as long as possible.
4) Arm Wrestling.
It was a tough 1st day of competition for all the lads, but Eddie Hall and Rob Drennan in Group B and Paul Carter in Group B started gaining a lead. At the end of Day 1 we lost 2 athletes from each group; these were: Group A: Louis Maclean and Nicky Whelan and in Group B: Richard Looney and Simon Johnston.
Day 2, Friday 26th August: The remaining 6 athletes in each group had 4 more events to contend with today and these were:
1) The Barbarian Crucifix Axe Hold; hold an 18kg axe in each fully straight arm, pressed up against a 2kg plate. Once the plate dropped the time stopped.
2) Arm over Arm Anchor and Chain pull; using a rope, pull an anchor and chain over the course or as far as you could.
3) Tyre Flip; flip a giant tyre down the course in the quickest time.
4) Strongman Flag Hoist; erect as many as the 5 flags as possible in the time.
By the end of these events, all the athletes were tired and 2 more from each group were eliminated. These were: Group A: Mark Lawson and Paul Roberts, and from Group B: Liam O’Sullivan and Stephen Cherrie. This left 8 athletes to go into the final and do battle for the CNP Trophy and the UK’s Strongest Man title.
Day 3, Saturday 27th August: This was it, the final! 8 very tired and sore athletes were left and ready to contest the title of UK’s Strongest Man. The line-up was: Eddie Hall, Rob Drennan, Ken Nowicki and Rich Smith from Group A, and Tom Shaw, Paul Carter, Jonathan Kelly and John Hutton from Group B.
The events for the Final were:
1) Ultimate Strongman Tyre Yoke 440kg; 2 huge tyres on a yoke frame, to be run down the course as quickly as possible.
2) Appolan’s Axle press, last man standing; The weight started at 147kg, everyone got a turn to lift and then went up and up until 1 man was left. Athletes were knocked out as they failed to lift the weight.
3) Squat for reps, 320kg; In a frame apparatus, squat down and then up for reps.
4) Ultimate Shield Carry, 200kg; Pick up a giant shield and move down the course with it.
5) Atlas Stones; 5 stones to be loaded onto a descending platform as quickly as possible.
An incredibly brutal and heavy competition ended with Eddie Hall as the CNP UK’s Strongest Man, with Ken Nowicki in 2nd and Rich Smith in 3rd. There was a lot of talent on display throughout the whole 3 days of competition, and it is good for the sport that there is such a lot of new blood moving up through the ranks.
The whole competition was filmed and will be shown on Challenge TV around Christmas time. A big thank you to the UKSC crew and organisers, the sponsors, the crowds who supported the athletes, and of course, the athletes themselves for putting on such a good show.
I would like to thank Reflex Nutrition for their support and advice and Wylam Brewery for their support. I enjoyed the competition, was proud to represent England and have gained valuable experience for next year. A big thank you to Glenn Ross and his team for organising and putting on such a good show; Strongman is in rude health!
Write up courtesy of Tom Shaw