The 2019 World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour came to a dramatic close on 7 September at Manchester Arena.
The star studded athlete line-up featured a host of international strongmen, including reigning champion Mateusz Kieliszkowski, the Scottish Stoltman Brothers, England-hating American Robert Oberst, Iron Biby and the “T-Rex” Evan Singleton.
The five brutal events featured a 350kg axle deadlift, a giant Mad Max-style 100kg dumbbell made from steel and stone, the 450kg Car Walk and the legendary Pillars of Hercules.
After coming third at Manchester last year, Adam Bishop was hoping to better his place at this year’s show – and he got off to the perfect start in Event 1, hitting 7 reps on the 350kg deadlift and barely pausing for breath, showing that conditioning really is a strong point for the Harlequins Strength and Conditioning coach!
But Bishop wasn’t the only one with a strong start!
Iron Biby, the huge athlete from Burkino Faso has been working on his conditioning and technique – and it showed when he just pipped T-Rex Evan Singleton to the post on the Car Walk.
We witnessed an incredible new World Record from Poland’s Mateusz Kieliskowski when he smashed Laurence Shahlaie’s previous record of 11:05 seconds with an incredible 10.0 second sprint.
By the time we got to Event 4, the Pillars of Hercules, it was clear that newcomer Ben Badger Brunning was not to be under-estimated. After coming in 10th place at Britain’s earlier in the year, it is fair to say that Ben was not on anyone’s radar to make the podium at Manchester, particularly as he was a last minute addition to the line-up. But Wales' Strongest Man made sure the world took notice - getting extremely close to Felix's Hercules Hold World Record with a 75.4 second hold.
Of course, all eyes were on Terry Hollands to see if how he would perform in his return to strongman just 5 weeks out from competing in his first ever Body Building show, but Big Tel was suffering with a small Ninja Warrior-related injury - and although he came in 13th place overall, it was fantastic to see him back on the strongman stage and doing what he loves.
Competing against guys half his age, 53 year old Mark Felix made another win for old man strength and broke his own 83.62 second world record with a 87.52 hold, to HUGE applause and well-deserved praise from the crowd.
It wasn’t just the World Records that amazed and inspired at Manchester Arena. Despite tearing his hamstring in the axle deadlift, ex-Russian Marine Mikhail Shivlyakov showed some true strongman grit when he battled on through three more events, proving that these athletes really are in another league, not just when it comes to physical strength but mental strength, too.
Coming into the stones, Iron Biby and Novikov were in joint first place with Kieliskowski in second and Singleton and Brunning in joint third, but it was all down to the final event to determine the winner.
Stones has never been Biby’s strong point and he failed to lift the final 200kg stone, leaving the field open and an edge-of-seat finale to the show.
Massive congratulations must go to Kieliskowski who once again proved he is a force of strength winning his second Giants Live trophy this year and retaining his title of Tour Finals champ, with huge props to newbie Ben Brunning, who shocked the strongman world to take second place ahead of some of the World’s biggest and best athletes and proving he deserves his place among the best of the best. Ukraine Oleskii Novikov, who many had tipped for the title, took the third spot on the podium.
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The full live stream from the show will be available exclusively on officialstrongman.com in the next 24 hours!