• 18 April, 2023
  • 5 mins

Record Breaking Felix to Make his Final Appearance at World’s

Just two days after his 57th birthday, Britain’s Mark Felix will be making his record-breaking 18th appearance at World’s Strongest Man. When the first day of the heats gets underway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on April 19th, he will also become the oldest competitor to ever appear at World’s, after Norway’s Odd Haugen who was 56 when he competed in Sanya, back in 2006.

Just a few weeks ago, The Miracle Man, announced that this would be his final World’s Strongest Man, and that though he would not be retiring, he would be withdrawing from all future WSM shows. Stating how excited he was to be selected for his 18th competition, Mark confirmed that his 19-year career at the sport’s top contest would be coming to an end.

Making his announcement via social media, Mark wrote:

“So incredibly excited to be a confirmed athlete for my 18th World’s Strongest Man show and the oldest person ever to compete at WSM. I have decided that this year will be my last time I compete at the WSM show, but I will continue to compete at Giants live and OSG shows. Strongman is in my blood, and I will hopefully be able to continue to compete for many many years to come.”

Joining Brian Shaw in WSM retirement, Mark performed admirably last year, achieving the best time of any athlete in the Wrecking Ball hold. In a recent Giants Live podcast, he pointed out that had he achieved a single rep in the overhead lift – so often his Achilles heel – he would have prevented Shaw from qualifying for the final. Brian may be focusing on his “Strive for Five,” but Felix is equally ambitious: “I know I can make the final.”

Still Improving

It’s absurd to think that Mark didn’t begin his strongman career until he was 37 and qualified for his first WSM way back in 2004. Having missed only two of the last twenty contests, Felix firmly believes that he is as strong as he has ever been: “I don’t feel as if I’m losing my strength…I’m a get up and go person, still.”

Of his performances in the past few seasons, Mark acknowledges his overhead prowess is somewhat lacking, but is quick to point out his areas of improvement. “If you look at my Yoke and Farmer’s over the past couple of years, it’s been a lot faster. I’m still improving.” That assessment is vindicated by his super-dominant display at the Masters’ 50+ World’s Strongest Man in Daytona Beach last year, where he won all but one of the events, defeating Americans Nick Best and George Pearson by 16.5 points.

Felix, always keen to prove himself on a level footing with the open athletes, held off competing at the Over 50’s, preferring to focus his attention on preparing for Giants Live events. In fact, he was over 50 when he placed 2nd at the Masters’ World’s (over 40) in 2016, where he lost out by just half a point from Nick Best.

Mark Felix the Squad King


His enduring presence at a contest that represents the pinnacle of the sport is truly remarkable. Throughout his 17 visits to World’s Mark has contested 113 events in both the heats and finals and has won 24 separate events, 14 of which have come in his favourite discipline, Deadlift for Reps. That makes him the 9th most prolific event winner in the contest’s history. Not bad for a man who turned up for his first World’s at an age most athletes would be contemplating retirement.

Mark has qualified for the final on three occasions and had his best placing in 2006, on just his second appearance at WSM. Placing 4th behind winner Phil Pfister, runner-up Mariusz Pudzianowski and third-placed Don Pope, he held off 2000 WSM winner Janne Virtanen who was 5th, by just half a point. His best event result that year was his =1stplacing in the opening event, Car Deadlift for Reps.

Early Years

Colin Bryce, talking with Felix during the Giants Live podcast, recalls the first time he ever saw him compete in Wolverhampton, in 2003. Having witnessed Glen Ross grind out 7 repetitions in the Car Deadlift, Bryce, who was compèring the contest, asked the then-unknown Felix how many reps he thought he would get, to which the 37-year-old replied “14.” Bryce’s jaw dropped as Mark lived-up to his prediction and he remembers thinking, “we have a superstar here!”

Felix only became aware of Strongman when he moved to England from Grenada and saw it on TV. Looking at the weights they were lifting, the former Cruise ship cocktail barman thought to himself, “I do those kinds of weights in the gym, I squatted 350kg.” Having contested a handful of natural bodybuilding contests throughout the Caribbean and Central America, Felix was no stranger to the weight room and was motivated to make the switch to strongman.


Felix was one of 13 siblings and remembers his childhood back in Grenada being a tough one. His mother died when he was only 2 and he grew up working hard on his family farm from about as soon as he could walk. His family were poor, and he walked to school in bare feet. His incredible genetics almost certainly came from his grandmother who lived to 106. He says he still thinks about her every day.

Felix’ incredible work ethic stems from his upbringing and he is one of a shrinking number of current professionals that still work full time. He still works as a plasterer and believes it is essential to keep his mind off the highs and lows the sport can throw at you. “One minute you’re here, with a million people screaming at you and the next minute you go home and it’s just you.”

Mark’s longevity in such a brutal sport is testament to his clean living. Rarely drinking or touching junk food, Felix has always looked after his body. He has not escaped completely unscathed, however, and having once measured 6’4” in height, is now 6’ 2.5”. “It Could be age,” he speculates, “or carrying all those heavy yokes.”

Felix’ time at the top of the sport is perhaps best illustrated by a photograph he had with a young fan whilst competing in Ukraine. The youngster, no more than 9 or 10 at the time, was no less than the 2020 World’s Strongest Man, Oleksii Novikov, who remembers the moment vividly and was astonished to be competing against Mark so many years later.

High Points

Felix’ career includes so many highlights, not least the multiple world titles and records he holds in the grip strength events, such as the Rolling Thunder, and of course the Hercules Hold, where he became an internet sensation after smashing the world record on multiple occasions.

In 2005 he won the IFSA British Championships, but has never officially won Britain’s Strongest Man, a fact that Colin Bryce feels is a disservice to his legacy. Pointing out that the better athletes were at the IFSA contest in 2005, rather than at BSM at Dudley Castle, Bryce acknowledges, “You deserve to be called a BSM winner.”

The following year Mark lost on Countback to Oli Thompson in the Isle of Man, having tied on points. Having bettered Thompson in the last event, Farmer’s Walk, by today’s scoring methods he would have won, as nowadays the result in the final event breaks the tie. Discussing this during the podcast interview Felix, who accepts these things with equanimity, only smiles and laughs. “At least you admit it now.”

“I know I can make a final!”

Returning to the present day and his upcoming performance at World’s, Mark is characteristically optimistic. On his Facebook page he wrote, “WSM 23 – I know I can make a final, then I retire (from WSM)!” His popularity with the sports’ fans has never been greater and is testament to not just his physical prowess, but also the quality of his personality and good nature; at last year’s World’s he was awarded the Jim Pollock Prize for embodying the Spirit of Strongman.

It’s hard to imagine another athlete ever emulating Mark’s achievements at World’s Strongest Man. If he could qualify for the final, or even win another event it would be a fitting end to a truly unique career. But whether he claims one last moment of glory or not, Mark will, for many, be the most inspiring competitor this year. “No matter how I do, I know it’s time to say goodbye. But not before I go and show the world one last time that age is just a number.”