Dragging an eight-tonne truck may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but it’s all in a day’s work for Coventry University graduate Joe Roberts in his quest to one day be named Wales’ Strongest Man.
Joe, 26, recently competed in the national tournament for the first time, coming in a respectable eighth place out of 12.
Graduating from Coventry University in 2017 with a degree in Physiotherapy, Joe has worked at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire as an intensive care physiotherapist. His studies have helped him in the working world and his sporting achievements.
The televised “Wales’ Strongest Man” competition involves several gruelling challenges, including a 200kg duck walk, 80-110kg block press, a 305kg car lift and dragging an eight-tonne truck.
Joe, who grew up in North Wales, said: “I’d been doing bodybuilding for about 12 years, and I used to use the uni’s gym and enjoyed playing with Coventry University’s rugby league team. I only got into “Strongman” less than 18 months ago; I started with a local novice tournament, then an intermediate one in Suffolk and finally, “Wales’ Strongest Man”. I’m well ahead of where I thought I’d be now.
“I’m pretty happy with how I did – all the challenges went quite well apart from the block press. It was strange competing in front of 1,500 people and having the television cameras there, though I’m used to doing it in car parks in front of 30–50 people. It was a lot of fun doing the truck push, but I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to do that uphill.
“There’s a lot of training involved – three normal gym sessions in Coventry and another specialist strength session in Dudley focussing on strongman events each week, and I’m looking to take it up a step at next year’s tournament, maybe come top five in 2024, top 3 in 2025 and then who knows? Ultimately the aim is to win. There are other tournaments beyond that: “UK Strongest Man”, “World Strongest Man”, but I’m not focusing on things like that just now.”
It’s proving to be a busy summer for Joe, who also married his partner Rita this week.
“Rita’s as surprised as I am that I’ve got this far in strongman already, but she’s done so much to support me along the way,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to taking some time off before competing again next year.”