Strongman Paul Benton is gearing up for a real heavyweight challenge as he takes on Britain’s strongest men this month.
The 26-year-old from Laurencekirk is heading to Belfast to compete in the UK Strongman competition after finishing fifth in Scotland’s Strongman at Motherwell last month.
Paul, a heating engineer, first competed in a strongman event in April 2014, so he has done remarkably well in a short space of time.
At the UK event, which lasts over three days, he will tackle Monster Tyre for Reps, the Daddy Dumbell Challenge, Star Wars – tug-o-war wrestling tests and Stones of Strength on day one.
If he can qualify for the second day, he can look forward to the Arm Over Arm Rope Pull, a Bavarian Deadlift, the Titanic Walk and Drag and the Sack Load.
Then on day three he could face the Farmers Walk for Distance, the Wooden Log, a Car Squat for Reps, the Super Yoke for Distance and the Flag Hoist.
So what makes him put his body through such punishment?
He said: “I was going to the gym for about a year before my first competition and only started looking into strength stuff six months down the line. I realised I was getting quite strong and I liked the idea of Strongman because it’s really versatile.
“There’s a great variety of events that test you in different ways, static events and also events where you are on the move. I found that quite interesting, it’s not all just static lifts - you’re moving things like cars around and the crowd get a real idea of what’s involved when they see that.
“The UK competition is known as one of the toughest in the world and I will be happy to get through to day two, but I’m definitely ready for the challenge.”
Paul will be cheered on in Belfast by his parents Morag and Alan and fiancee Kellie Duncan, his biggest supporter. The 25 year-old travels with Paul to all his competitions and is always on hand with “some ‘choice words’ of encouragement”.
He said: “Kellie is a fantastic support and I want to thank her for putting up with me! It can’t be easy! But her backing means so much and gives me greater strength.”
With Kellie’s choice words and his mum and dad roaring him on, Paul will have strong backing as he tackles his toughest test so far.