With just weeks to go until the first of three Britain’s Fittest Farmer qualifier events, the judging panel has been seriously impressed by the competition applications so far.
More than 110 farmers and agricultural industry workers are up for the friendly challenge of putting their all-round fitness to the test, and raising awareness of mental health issues along the way.
Everyone who applies to take part in this year’s competition on the Britain’s Fittest Farmer website gets an invite to their preferred qualifier event, hosted on farms across the country.
On the day, contestants will be put through their paces with a series of physical tasks to test their speed, stamina and strength.
These are set to be fun, free events for the rural community to come together, cheer on our competitors and get talking about physical and mental-health matters in farming.
As the countdown to these fantastic events enters its final stages, we’ve picked out some more of our favourite entries to date.
How to apply
To apply, go to the Britain’s Fittest Farmer website and answer a few questions on how you keep yourself physically fit and look after your mental health. You will also need to upload a video or photo of yourself.
Check out the fantastic applications so far for some inspiration.
Thirty-one-year-old John runs his own flock of sheep and works as an estate manager in the Peak District.
A self-confessed CrossFit nut, he loves the sport for its camaraderie and competitiveness. He also takes part in local and national competitions either individual or in team events.
“It is the sport of fitness, and I think it gives you a great foundation of fitness and strength for life and especially farming.
He also keeps a tractor tyre in the corner of his six-acre field where he’ll be found flipping it from one side to the other, much to the bemusement of his sheep.
“I have found that mental and physical health are so connected,” he says. “Getting into the positive CrossFit environment, working hard alongside your mates has helped hugely.”
Remembering what he is thankful for and using a meditation app have been helped to aid his positive mindset.
Britain’s Fittest Farmer 2020: Dates for your diary
- Qualifier 1: Marlborough, Wiltshire – Sunday, 29 March 2020
- Qualifier 2: Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire – Saturday, 4 April 2020
- Qualifier 3: Jedburgh, Scottish Borders – Saturday, 18 April 2020
- Final: Great Dunmow, Essex – Saturday, 9 May 2020
Young farmer Katie works on her family’s beef and sheep farm in Devon as the main shepherd, taking on lambing duties. She also pilots the straw chopper, does the farm paperwork and works at her local livestock market.
Shepherding work and running up to five times a week keeps her fit to farm. Endorphins released when running out in the fresh air make her feel like anything is possible.
“I have used running as a tool to cope with many low points I have overcome. It has always made me look at things with a more positive outlook,” she says.
Flavian has been working in the pig industry since he finished his A-levels at school, and today he works as a pig unit manager in East Sussex.
The 28-year-old is a keen sportsman, playing rugby and badminton and he hits the gym regularly. He has a supportive group of friends and family to listen when he needs to share a problem.
“I’m also fairly thick-skinned, so I let a lot of things that could potentially affect my mentality go over me.”
Forty-year-old Lindsay has worked on the same dairy, beef and sheep farm for the past 25 years in Cumbria. A keen road, trail and fell runner, she’s the captain of her ladies’ running club and also enjoys cycling.
Like many farmers, she sometimes finds her work stressful with the highs and lows of life on the farm. “People often ask how I manage to exercise after a long day at work, but I find even 30 minutes of exercise – either running or on my bike – helps clear my head and makes me feel better.
She says her running club is great for her social life, getting away from work and meeting new people. “Running has made me so many friends, and having days away to look forward to helps.”
Britain’s Fittest Farmer: Our sponsor and partners
Tough, rugged, agile – the new INEOS Grenadier 4X4 will share plenty of traits exhibited by the winner of Britain’s Fittest Farmer. That’s why we’re so pleased to be sponsoring this rural British physical challenge.
As an uncompromising, no frills, off-road vehicle, the Grenadier will provide all the capability, durability and reliability you need to tackle the toughest tasks on the farm. That’s why we see ourselves as the ideal partner for this true test of grit, endurance and strength.
For more information on Grenadier, pay a visit to their website.
Farm Fitness: Partner
Farm Fitness has rapidly become a burning beacon on the UK fitness scene, attracting spectators and participants from all over the country to come and take a swing at its almost alchemic blend of modified strongman, functional bodybuilding, calisthenics and blistering cardio efforts.
The gym, founded by farmer’s son Tom Kemp, was voted one of the best gyms in the world and ‘coolest outdoor space’ by Men’s Health (PDF)
Tom has blended his farming background with his love of training to create a raw and exciting outdoor environment for people of all strengths and abilities to get fit.
The Farming Community Network: Partner
The Farming Community Network (FCN) is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times.
The charity has helped thousands of people deal with a variety of issues, including financial difficulties, animal disease, mental health and family disputes.
Volunteers provide free, confidential, pastoral and practical support to anyone who seeks help, regardless of whether the issue is personal or business-related. FCN also runs a confidential national helpline and e-helpline.