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Friday, May 24, 2024

SAS Emergency Responder Set to Represent Scotland at UK Strongman Competition

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Calum Elder

A Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) emergency responder and part time strongman has been selected to represent Scotland at one of the UK’s biggest competitive events next month.

Calum Elder, 38, based out of Kirkwall Ambulance station, qualified as a Technician in 2022, but has been competing in strongman competitions for the past several years.

During this time, he has lifted several Scottish Manhood Stones – such as the Saddlin’ Mare (99kg), Dalwhinnie (102kg), Newtonmore stones (101kg) and the famous Dinnie Stones, weighing a combined 332kg.

Calum has recently started to compete in “natural” strongman competitions, which are drug tested to ensure competitors are not using performance enhancers.

He competed in his first ever national competition earlier this year where he came third and has now been selected to represent Scotland.

He said:

“I was absolutely delighted to come away with a 3rd place finish out of a field of the nation’s strongest natural strongmen earlier in the year.

“The podium finish meant that I qualified to represent Scotland at the UK and Ireland’s Strongest Natural, set to be held in Preston in May.”

On splitting his time between work as a Technician and competitions, he said it can be difficult, depending on his shifts, and added:

“Quite often I have to train after my shift finishes at 7pm, travelling half an hour each way to train.

“It’s then a case of eating and hitting the hay to start another shift at 7am.”

“My colleagues are all very supportive and are very interested to see how I get on at comps.”

Speaking about how he got into strongman competitions, which involves competitors trying to lift excessive weights, he said he was inspired to take part after seeing an advertisement on social media from a strongman named “Rhino”.

After sending a message, Calum, who grew up in Orkney, was invited to attend a session.

He added:

“Rhino was testing the water slightly and threw me in at the deep end to try out the log lift.

“While I was not lifting anywhere near what the regulars do, I really enjoyed giving it a shot.

“It inspired me to get into it seriously and train for competitions.”

In 2020, his first year of competing, he entered John O’ Groat’s Strongest Man, and ended up beating mentor Rhino.

Calum added:

“Very kindly, one of the local butchers has given me a yearly meat allowance, which helps massively with the food bills and getting in top quality nutrition.

“I am currently looking for any sponsorship support I can get to aid in the costs of travelling and sourcing new equipment.

“As I don’t have the backing of a sports club or federation in Orkney, it’s currently coming out of my own pocket.

“This forces me to be quite selective in which comps I enter.” 

The UK and Ireland Strongest Natural competition takes place in Preston in May.

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