Gary Clarke from Somerset is about to set off for Reykjavik where The World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition is held each year.
36-year-old Gary has competed in the high profile international strength event three times previously, attempting the Log Lift, Truck Pull and the Hercules Hold (participants hold two cables with 100kg weights on each end for as long as possible, testing both strength and grip).
The UK lacks representation at The World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition with only a handful of British competitors taking part despite strength sports being accessible and affordable.
Gary, who has cerebral palsy, hopes to smash his personal best scores which are lifting at least 75kg on the Log Lift, 50kg on the Atlas Stones, 45 seconds and 80kg on the Hercules Hold, a 30kg dumbbell press and an impressive Crucifix Hold of over one minute with 10kg weights.
Sponsored by disabled wetroom specialists, Impey Showers’, Gary, who works as a carer for disabled people, has recently appeared at a leading national independent living exhibition at which he inspired hundreds of event goers by performing his strength capabilities. He has also been asked to contribute blog posts by Scope.
Gary, who trains under twice Britain’s Strongest Man winner, Laurence Shahlaei, said: “I’m determined to go out to Reykjavik and give it my all. As long as I beat my records from last year I will be pleased – all you can do is the best for yourself.”
Gary, who uses crutches and experiences difficulties with his balance due to his condition, added: “My disability is just a small part of my life. Disability is just a state of mind – I choose not to let it hold me back and events like this prove you can achieve the things you want to, regardless of any disability.”
Presently there is no UK disabled strongman competition in place and this is something Gary wants to change in the near future. Gary said: “I want to start disabled strongman competitions in the UK and make them as popular here as they are in other countries. I want to give disabled people the chance to show the public what they’re made of.
“I want to pave the way for others and help them to achieve what I have been lucky enough to accomplish.”
Magnus Ver Magnusson, organiser of The World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition and four-times winner of the World’s Strongest Man contest is very supportive of Gary’s efforts.
Magnus, said: “I’ve worked with Gary for the last few years whilst he has been training for The World’s Strongest Disabled Man. Gary is a very determined and courageous man. He’s an inspiration to others, a credit to the UK and he hopes to encourage others into strength sports.
Neil Whitehead at Impey Showers, said: “We are very proud of Gary representing the UK and we wish him luck in the competition and raising the profile of disabled strength sports in the UK.”
For more information on how you can take part in disabled strongman competitions, Gary Clarke can be found on Facebook and Twitter, @StrongmanGary.