Many thanks to Dave Archer of Sculptures Gym in Seaford, East Sussex for this excellent write-up of the recent Britain’s Strongest Man 105kg 2008 event.
“An amazing performance by local hero, Scott Reid, left the 600 spectators cheering all afternoon for the British Strongest Man Champion (under 105kg weight) on Sunday 14th of September 2008 at the Downs Leisure Centre. He decimated the competition which had turned up to challenge the defending champion. It was an outstanding day, watching 11 competitors line up from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It was the final showdown of the top 11 athletes qualifying from many rounds held all over the country.
Set at the Downs Leisure Centre in Seaford, the arena had been set-up to cope with around 100 spectators, family and friends, but as word had spread like wild fire across the county, over 700 people turned up, packing the venue to the brim and making the event the most exciting competition this town - and probably the county - has had for many years.
All the athletes had to weigh in at 11am that day and had to be under 16.5 stone (105kg) or they couldn’t take part. The 6 gruelling events, that would put even a large guy like me in traction for a year, made these 11 guys smile with anticipation! With each body ripping event spread over 4 hours the compere roused the crowd to applaud every athlete that took part. I have to say that the crowd cheered every athlete and made them all feel really welcome.
The competition started with the powerhouse Viking Press, where you press 120kg from your shoulders as many times as possible! When the first guy took position I thought maybe 6 were possible with this colossal weight. Well, it was Scott Reid - the local hero that lives in Newhaven - and who has trained for 8 years at Sculptures Gym who took his position. He powered 19 reps!! Watching him from up close (I was referee) his whole body rippling with muscles filled up with blood. The only way I can describe what I saw is that his body worked like a machine, powering up the bar, his muscles pumping up by each push until they couldn’t hold any more blood and were twice the size the were.
It was only then I realised what the years of strict dieting, training and nutrition had been for. I had watched him train in my gym, even training with him on the odd occasion, but this was different, this was for the British Championship, to be Britain’s Strongest Man 105kg 2008, with the promise to qualify for the The Worlds Strongest Man Championship (under 105kg) in Kiev, Ukraine.
As they took their positions under the press I wondered if anyone could even come close, but Scott’s 19 reps was unbeatable, the closest was 12 reps by Jason Talbot.
The second event was the Farmers Walk. The Farmers Walk! I would love to meet the farmer they took the name for this event from! Who in their right mind would walk with 120kg in EACH hand 40 metres. Actually, who could pick it up!
The shear weight of these beasts would rip the skin off most people’s hands, tear muscles off bones and pull arms out of sockets. Oh no, not with these guys, where some of them ran, yes ran with the weight. The crowd, in disbelief at this point, cheered and whistled each competitor as some hurtled down the 2 x 20m lengths tossing the bars across the finish line.
As the events continued the next being the Super Yoke, this is where you lift a contraption weighing no less than 320kg and carry it on you shoulders up the course for 20m in the fastest time. Where do they find these events, who thinks up these sadistic trials?
Apparently, according to Scott Reid, they try to make them harder to do, by adding extra weight, making the course go up hill or making it so heavy that most of them can’t even lift it. Then all year disappearing off to secluded barns or workshops around the country practicing these events in the evenings come rain, snow and cold!
The 4th event was the Conan’s Wheel. (have you seen Conan the Barbarian. In the beginning where Conan, as young boy, is roped to a wheel and has to walk for years around in a circle and years later he finishes and bingo, it’s Arnold!). Well, basically they not pushing it, that’s too easy, they have to lift this bar centred on a wheel (only weighing 300kg) and walk around in circles as many times as possible. Crazy men!
The penultimate round was a classic to strongman, the stone lift and tyre flip. Sounds easy, doesn’t it. Really. First lift a perfectly round rock weighing 120 kg on to a platform, which was taller than some of the competitors and then pick a 140 kg rock and a 160 kg rock up! It was hard enough with the weight, but being round as well, then if they manage to get all 3 stones up, then flip a 400kg tyre twice - when was the last time you flipped a 400kg? Bet you haven’t and I bet you couldn’t!
I was astounded when, after the first 3 athletes couldn’t get all 3 stones up, the fourth athlete walked up to the start, the whistle went and he threw the stones up like they where paperweights, ran over to the tyre and flipped this huge lump of rubber twice in under 19 seconds!
The last event was the car pull, (I say car - 3.5 tonnes of Mercedes ML) up a slope, 20 metres as fast as you can. Please explain how you can run up hill with 3.5 tonnes strapped to your back? Well, some did and, as to form, so did Scott Reid, I watched him in practice and thought, he’s going to struggle, but with the points so close he had to blast this event to stand any chance of holding his title. As the ref blew his whistle he powered away, within a matter of a few feet, this bio-enginnered man was running up the course, finishing it in 17 seconds! He punched the air and ran into the crowd ecstatic, the crowd roaring him home and when he finished a almighty applause was heard for miles around! What a finish.
With the only man to challenge him finishing the course in a longer time, everyone’s eyes were on the scoreboard to see if Scott had retained his title or lost it to good friend and training partner, John Hobson from Chichester.
Initially it appeared as if they had drawn on points - with 54 points each - which would have meant John Hobson had won on count back.But there was to be a turn of fortune, one of the Scottish athletes watched the video and found that John Hobson had only completed 9, not 10, Viking presses, thus earning him less points. This meant Scott had won with 54 points leaving John Hobson in 2nd place with 53.5 points. Jason Talbot took 3rd place with 52 points.
I have never been to such a well organised event - the Professional Physio’s offered their services for free, Physio Footprint’s Leonie Dawson said it was a pleasure looking after the athletes and many welcomed her massaging and physio skills on the day. The Downs put on a lovely BBQ and a licensed bar all day looking after the thirsty and hungry spectators.
Scott said the main sponsor pulled out 3 weeks prior to the event. Luckily, with the sponsorship and help of The Builder’s Club, Sculptures Gym and Wave Leisure he finally managed to put this event on.This has been without doubt the best show since Portsmouth 3 years ago! Thanks to Physio Footprints, Cobbler’s of Seaford, BNC Signs and the many volunteers, without whom, the day would not have gone ahead.
Having been a good friend of Scott’s for many years, he’s quiet, patient and thoughtful and knowing the troubled year he’s had, it was such a pleasure watching him compete and win. His life is Strongman and with his dedication and commitment I can see him being The Worlds Strongest Man Under 105kg body weight in the near future. So, Seaford, be proud that we have put us on the map and well done Scott Reid, Britain’s Strongest Man for two years running! Scott has been invited to the world championships in Kiev Ukraine starting on December 6th 2008. This will be the second year running he has represented Great Britain at this event.”
[Dave Archer is owner of Sculptures Gym in Seaford]
[Photos courtesy of Chris Bray]