LIFTING weights in the gym is not that unusual, but lifting a car is something most people would struggle to achieve.

Not firefighter Ben Kelsey, who last month competed in the World’s Strongest Man event in America.

Having come fifth in the Britain’s Strongest Man competition in Doncaster on March 16, he was offered a flight to Los Angeles just three days later.

He said: “I didn’t get into the British contest initially, and then three weeks before that I found out it was because people pulled out due to injury.

“I did better than anybody expected.”

The top six British finalists are traditionally invited to attend the world championships, which took place over a week from March 22.

Mr Kelsey, 29, from Abingdon, said: “I didn’t realise there were still spots available for the World’s Strongest Man.”

Once he arrived in LA, Mr Kelsey competed in six events over four days.

He said: “Every competition I’ve done before takes place over one day, so you exercise for four or five hours and that’s it. This was very different – you would do one or two events a day, for four days. You’d get stiff and sore in between events.”

He eventually finished fifth in his heat, missing the mark for the finals.

The winner was named as Zydrunas Savickas from Lithuania.

Mr Kelsey added: “It was absolutely incredible, I’m very happy with the way things worked out.”


  • Car Walk: Competitors stand inside a stripped-down car – “with your head poking through the sun roof,” said Ben Kelsey – and carry it 25 metres as fast as possible. Mr Kelsey did it in 50 seconds.
  • Atlas Stones: Huge boulders weighing as much as 160kg have to be lifted and placed on a platform. Mr Kelsey managed three stones in 48.21 seconds and the winner, Zydrunas Savickas, managed the same number in just 20.02 seconds
  • Fingal Fingers: A series of metal poles weighing between 200-300kg are flipped over. As you go through the course, they get progressively heavier and longer. Mr Kelsey flipped three poles in 27.84 seconds.
  • Viking Press: A jeep sits on a metal sheet, with handles protruding. The competitor must lift the poles, which then bear the weight of the load, over their head as many times as possible. Mr Kelsey lifted the load two times, while Mr Savickas managed 13.
  • Deadlift: Competitors lift a metal frame filled with barrels straight off the ground until knees lock in a standing position. Mr Kelsey lifted the frame four times in 24.95 seconds. The winner managed six lifts in 28.10 seconds.
  • Loading Race: Five heavy objects weighing up to 164 kg are carried around 50ft in a race to see who can put them all onto a truck first. Mr Kelsey completed the course in 49 seconds, compared to the winner’s 39.5 seconds.