UK’s Strongest Man comes to Verulamium Park in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 18:30 31 July 2018

Fans at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOO

Fans at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

St Albans played host to UK’s Strongest Man last weekend and the Herts Advertiser was there for the event’s opening on Friday.

The competitors are introduced to the crowd at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOOThe competitors are introduced to the crowd at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOO

Fifteen athletes lined up that afternoon, a dizzying array of challenges ahead of them: including a truck pull, bar bending and a log press.

An audience member said beforehand: “It should be a good event and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve had the tickets booked for a while now, but upgraded to VIP because of the nice weather.

“I’ve seen a few of the competitors and everyone is really friendly.”

Competitor Rob Spence said: “I’m looking forward to it as it’s my first UK’s. I’ve been doing it just under two years so I’m still a junior.

Finley Hayes, 10, has a go at a strongman course at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOOFinley Hayes, 10, has a go at a strongman course at the UK's Strongest Man event held in Westminster Lodge. Picture: DANNY LOO

“I’ve been running through all the events and trying to train like a bodybuilder through the week then event training on Saturday.”

Asked if he fancied his chances, he said: “Definitely.”

Fellow competitor Colin Hawkins said: “I did England’s Strongest Man three or four weeks ago, so I’ve been more mentally preparing and strength carries over to other events so it’s not too bad.

“It is a highlight for the experienced guys, but especially for me as it’s my first time.”

There was also a side attraction called UK’s Strongest Kid, manned by strongman Ashton Reed, where children were tasked with doing as many flips on a tyre as they could and carrying a sandbag after that.

The kids who completed the challenge were put into a prize draw and they all were given a certificate.

One of the parents whose children took part, Nyssa Hayes, said: “It is very hot, but they absolutely loved it and worked up a sweat.

“The event is brilliant. We’ve had some food and ice cream. We’re looking forward to the truck pull most of all.”

The event was so successful, organisers have hinted they could return to St Albans next year.

The eventual winner of the tournament was Pa O’Dwyer of Ireland, who took the final with 30 points.

In second place was England’s Phil Roberts, who spoke to the Herts Advertiser when he visited HIIT Kitchen last month, with 29 points.

Last year’s champion Laurence Shahlaei of England was pushed down to third, scoring 27 points.

Rob Spence came fourth with 26 points, Paul Benton came fifth with 24 points, Ryan England came sixth with 23 points, Richard Bessant came seventh with 12 points and Scott Milne came eighth with nine points.

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