TOM LEWINDON, a personal trainer from Cirencester, surprised himself by finishing third in the East Midlands Strongest Man event held in Northampton.

Lewindon, 28, weighs in at 12 and a half stone so is not typical of the monster contestants associated with the sport – Lithuanian Zydrunas Savickas, who has just won the World’s Strongest Man title in Los Angeles for the fourth time, tips the scales at almost 27 stone.

So there was no double truck pull or giant log lifting for Tom, though he did face a day-long series of six strength and endurance tests to earn his third place in the 80kg weight category.

The tests included running with and lifting a beer keg full of gravel and holding a crucifix position with an 8kg weight in each hand.

“I had done 10ks, a half marathon and triathlons before but nothing on the strength spectrum,” said Tom, a freelance trainer who works out of the Active4Less gym and Falcon Health and Fitness in Cirencester while also training at the Royal Agricultural University.

“I’d spent about 18 months of my free time adding weight and building up my strength and this competition was a validation for that.

“I thought it was time to stop talking about it and just do it.”