A KIRKCALDY strongman will rub shoulders with the most famous body-builder of all time after powering his way to the British title.
Stephen Cherrie beat 11 other finalists to become Britain’s Strongman Challenge Champion at the event in Billingham on September 9.
The victory has qualified him for the Arnold Schwarzenegger World Championships, taking place in Ohio, USA, in May next year.
And the 28-year-old Fifer cannot wait to meet one of his all-time heroes.
“For anyone who has ever stepped in a gym, Schwarzenegger is still the poster boy that everyone aspires to be,” he said.
“His event is the biggest fitness festival on earth, and he’s been to every competition since it started in 2002, meeting the competitors and shaking their hands.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t intimidating - but it’s exciting as well. It’s a big step up to world level but I’ve paid my dues in the sport and I’m ready for it.”
Stephen has been competing for five years, and won the title of Scotland’s Strongest Man in 2011.
To win the British title, Stephen had to pull a 36-tonne truck, lift a BMW X5, press a 22-stone log above his head, flip a 250 kilogram tyre and lift a 200kg stone onto a box.
Not only that, but he did it carrying an illness.
“I’m on antibiotics for a bad chest infection so it made breathing more difficult,” he said. “But two of other guys tore their biceps and one of them collapsed and passed out lifting the stones, so that helped my chances.
“Burst capillaries and nose bleeds are common at these things and some guys tear callouses off their hands.
“It’s not for the faint-hearted. Sometimes it’s not the strongest man that wins, but the most durable. Fitness and stamina play a big part.”
Stephen works full-time with Fife Council, and trains regularly at the Fitness Factor Gym in Mitchelston Industrial Estate.
He hopes his success can inspire others.
“As the top Brit going to America, and first reserve for the World’s Strongest Man, I’m on the brink of the pro scene,” he said.
“But I just see myself as a normal 9-5 guy from Kirkcaldy.
“I’ve got a sponsor but I don’t have lots of people throwing money at me.
“I just want to show some of the younger guys in the area that if you work hard at something and give your all you can reach the top level.
“There’s more to life than drinking every weekend.”