They trained hard, sowing the seeds of their mental and physical fitness – this was the time for harvest.
Out of 225 strong entries to Farmers Weekly’s inaugural Britain Fittest Farmer competition, seven women and seven men were invited to an exhilarating final.
As our guest judge, farmer’s son and personal trainer Tom Kemp hosted the day of friendly competition at his Farm Fitness gym in Essex – painstakingly designing a series of five events aimed at testing the competitors all-round physical ability.
An interview process that focused on mental health was weighted equally against these physical challenges. Coverage of the final coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 (13-19 May).
Earlier this month, the 14 finalists were invited to take part in a day of friendly competition which saw them run, push, drag and sweat their way towards being crowned the winner and netting a £500 cash prize.
They came from as far north as the Orkney Islands, as far south as Cornwall, as far east as Essex and as far west as Pembrokeshire to be part of this exciting new event. Find out all about each of our finalists.
The winners will be announced on 24 May 2019.
Britain’s Fittest Farmer promotes physical and mental fitness in agriculture by championing farmers who are proactive about their health.
It was created as a fun way of encouraging a vital discussion about the physical and mental health of our farmers.
Watch the video highlights from the competition final
Round 1: Quick sand
For time, competitors carry five sandbags, of ascending weight, 10m to be loaded on to a hay bale.
Once the last sandbag is loaded, the finalist must make their way over three bales and remove flag from fourth bale to stop the timer.
Round 2: In the fields
- 30 burpees (chest and hips touch ground, jumping up with feet leaving the ground and hands touching above the head)
- 400m off-road run
- Target number of calories burned on an assault bike (60 for men, 40 for women)
- 400m off-road run
Round 3: Farmer’s toil
- Five farmer’s deadlifts
- 100m farmer’s carry
- 100m tyre drag
- 15m round bale push
Round 4: Tyre change
- 20 ground-to-overhead lifts (15kg for women, 20kg for men)
- 30-calorie ski
- 20m tyre flip and jump
- 20m grain sack carry
Round 5: Grit and grains
- Finalist takes a weighted grain shovel in each hand, raising their arms laterally into a “crucifix” position, holding for as long as they can without dropping their arms.
Round 6: The interview
- Each finalist is interviewed by Oli Hill and Lucinda Dann from the Farmers Weekly team.
- The aim of the interview was to assess their reasons for entering the competition beyond simple vanity, their understanding of mental health challenges faced by farmers and how they manage their own mental wellbeing.
- Their suitability as an ambassador for health and fitness in agriculture was also considered.
What the judges said
Oli Hill, community editor, Farmers Weekly
“What made this competition so special, aside from watching our fantastic finalists attack the gruelling physical challenges, was the way they all supported each other.
“I think it’s fair to say that each of them struggled at some point during the day and it was so heartening to see them rallying behind an individual.
“As in life, it’s important to support anyone who is struggling mentally or physically, and each of our finalists make excellent ambassadors for health and wellbeing in farming.”
Tom Kemp, Farm Fitness founder
“It was great to see farmers travelling from afar because they wanted to compete.
“To see fellow farmers getting stuck in with their natural ability gained from farm work applied in their competition was really impressive.”
Farmers Weekly thanks competition partners Tom Kemp and the team at Farm Fitness for use of the gym’s facilities and their expertise in judging the finalists.
Thanks also to Heck Foods, Red Bull and Neat Nutrition for their kind support of this event.