Britain’s Fittest Farmer: Meet the women returning in 2024

Entries are rolling in for this year’s Britain’s Fittest Farmer (BFF) competition, with farmers from across the country signing up to take part in our three qualifier heats throughout the summer.

Ahead of the first round, competitors from the Women Under 40 and Women Over 40 categories tell Farmers Weekly why they keep coming back to the competition year after year, and shared the details of their early preparation for this year’s event.

See also: Britain’s Fittest Farmer 2023: Meet the winners

Becky Dack

Becky Dack at Britain's Fittest Farmer

Becky Dack © Telling Photography

Young farmer Becky Dack, 22, is returning to the BFF competition for the third year, after also first taking part in 2021.

Based in North Yorkshire, she works on a 2,000 head pig unit and rears a small herd of Wagyu cross-calves.

Admitting to being a little bit competitive, she says that she is looking forward to this year’s event.

“I’m quite competitive – but it’s the atmosphere that keeps bringing me back,” she says.

“The people are really lovely and it’s nice to meet other farmers that are like-minded. I know a lot of farmers, but not a lot of farmers that are also into fitness and wellness, so the social aspect is just as important as the exercise element of the competition,” she explains.

Taking care of the stock keeps Becky fit, but she also tries to fit in at least four workouts a week, usually for an hour, to an hour and a half for each session. She has been working alongside a coach to help her prepare for this year’s BFF.

“It is a very supportive event. Last year, I had a bit of a cold and the winner, Heidi, had finished her round and came straight over to help me and encourage me.

“The environment is special – you can’t really get anything better in a competition. I’ve done dance and gymnastics, and you don’t get that same encouragement from the people you are competing against like you do in BFF.

“With a lot of us going back each year, you really look forward to it because of the people.”

Anne Grindal

Anne Grindal, Britain's Fittest Farmer contestant, lifting weights

Anne Grindal © MAG/Colin Miller

Farmer’s wife, mum of two, and freelance equestrian coach Anne Grindal, from Worcestershire, competed in BFF for the first time last year, and made it to the finals in the mixed over 40s category.

Returning again for 2024, she says: “It was so much fun last year, and it was a real family day out – my husband and kids came down to watch. It was so supportive, and such a brilliant day being able to meet all of the other competitors.

“We live in our own little bubbles doing our own things, and sometimes it’s nice to just step out of it and chat with people with a shared interest.

“It is doing something a little bit different, away from the everyday grind. It’s a bit of fun!”

Anne attends a local bootcamp each week in the village, and says that this has become a staple part of her wellness routine.

“Bootcamp is my saviour – it’s 45 minutes, it’s two minutes away from home, I get to meet people who aren’t farming, and it’s the best thing for my mental health – it’s completely essential.

“That’s my bread and butter, and quite a lot of the exercises we do there are similar to the BFF exercises. It’s a mixture of running and body weights.”

Anne is excited to be in the newly-created Women Over 40 category this year, and says that it is important to recognise this demographic of farming women.

“I was really proud to have been up there in the mixed final last year, but I’m really excited to have our own category this year.

“I’m over 40, I’ve got teenage kids that are both into farming. I think there are a lot of women that can lose their identity a little bit at this age.

“A lot of women can be the glue that holds things together in a family farm, so I’m so excited that we have our own category to take part in and celebrate this.”

Em Gattlin

Em Gattlin, Britain's Fittest Farmer contestant, lifting weights

Em Gattlin © MAG/Colin Miller

Having first competed in 2020, 28-year old Em Gattlin, from Essex, returned to the competition in 2021 where she took third place.

Now back for a third year, she says that the competition is a good opportunity to chat and make friends.

“I think it’s a great competition and I’ve made so many friends through it who I still keep in touch with now, and follow on social media,” Em says.

“It’s a really fun event, even though it does have a serious side, and it gets you out chatting and mixing with people.

“The Farm Fitness coaches are lovely, it is really inclusive and everyone is so friendly.”

After briefly coming out of farming and missing a year of the competition, Em is keen to return this summer, and has already begun training.

Admitting that fitness is a huge part of her personal routine, she says that her early event preparation has largely included improving her strength.

“I’m trying to get a bit stronger at the moment, but preparing for it is a bit of a mix. I’ve been blasting cardio as much as I can while trying to put on some muscle mass.

“I’ve got a few fitness competitions coming up which I know will help me get ready for BFF.”

About the competition

BFF was launched by Farmers Weekly in 2018 as a fun way of sparking a vital discussion about the physical and mental health of the nation’s farmers.

Farming can be an isolating job, meaning it is vital for farmers to focus on their mental health and wellbeing so that they can stay fit for farming.

The friendly event is open to farmers and those working in the wider agricultural industry over the age of 18, and all abilities are welcome.

So get your trainers on, and bring your friends and family along to show some support at one of our three qualifier locations, where competitors will face a series of tough challenges designed to test speed, strength and stamina.

Britain's Fittest Farmer contestant lifting tyres

© MAG/Colin Miller

The qualifier events will be taking place at the following locations:

  • Lincolnshire Show (19 June)
  • Royal Highland Show (23 June)
  • Royal Welsh Show (25 July)

New for this year, there are now four categories to enter:

  • Men Under 40
  • Women Under 40
  • Men Over 40
  • Women Over 40

BFF is not all about physical abilities – contestants also take part in an interview round that focuses on how they maintain a healthy mindset, and what they do to champion mental health within the community to keep this important conversation going.

How to apply

  • Applying couldn’t be simpler. Head over to the Britain’s Fittest Farmer website, and upload a photo or short video of yourself
  • Select your preferred qualifier venue and the category you are entering
  • Remember to tell us about how you stay mentally and physically fit for farming, and what makes you a great ambassador for the industry
  • Don’t forget to also add your contact details so we can get in touch.

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