Obsession gradually becomes ambition when your lifestyle revolves around a specific activity.
Burnley behemoth Wayne Fulton will testify to that statement. The 30-year-old has tailored his home - reinventing his driveway and garage - to cater for his dreams of competing at Britain’s Strongest Man.
After muscling in on his first crown last year - the newcomer title at Bolton’s Strongest Man in the town’s Victoria Square - the Harle Syke powerhouse has developed an unquenchable thirst for competition.
After registering a third place finish at the Night of Power event at Darwen’s Mill Gym, a fourth place finish at the Winter Elite Classic show in Blackburn and a 10th place finish at North England’s Strongest Man contest, Wayne returned to Bolton last month to claim victory in the experienced Strongman class.
IT specialist Wayne fended off competition from eight other rivals in his category, finishing ahead of man mountain Greg Dunnings and Ryan Turner. In front of thousands Wayne secured second in the Press Medley heat which required five overhead lifts of an axle weighing up to a staggering 120kg.
He stormed to victory in the seven tonne military van push, came fifth in the Deadlift Hold, but then raced back in to contention for the championship in the Loading Race - shifting sandbags weighing up to 100kg on to a 5ft platform in the quickest time.
Finally, Wayne reigned supreme in the Deadlift event which saw him complete 13 repetitions of a 240kg thick grip bar in 60 seconds. “The competition was a lot harder this year,” he said. “I went back to compete in the experienced class where the weights were higher, the competition was better and there were more lads in my category.
“I managed to win and I was delighted. I didn’t realise I’d won it until second place was called out right in front of me. The guy who finished runner-up had been chasing me right until the end but luckily I did enough to win it. The guy who came second was 6ft 7in and 25st so it goes to show body weight and size isn’t all you need.
“It’s definitely the highlight so far. The highlight was last year but this one feels like a bigger achievement. I had people chasing me from last year, they wanted to beat me, so they were hungrier for it. I’ve made a bit of a name for myself, people know who I am and they’re wanting to beat me. But that makes me hungrier to succeed. There’s still more to come from me yet.”
Attention will now be averted to the more gruelling Open events where competition is fierce. Excelling at this level could potentially pave the way for greater success in the sport.
“I’m hoping to step it up another level this year - to the top level which is the Opens,” he said. “I am quite small for an Opens lifter because I’m only 17st and some competitors can weigh in at around 24st so I’m giving a lot of body weight away. That doesn’t mean I can’t do well though because some of the best lifters who compete in the World’s Strongest Man are a similar weight to me. It can be done.”
Wayne and wife Amy are now looking to test the mettle of some of the strongest athletes across East Lancashire. The pair have created the Burnley and Pendle Strongman League which will see competitors battle it out in everything from log lifts and tyre flips to deadlifts and atlas stones. The first event, a “push/pull challenge”, will take place at Rosegrove Railway Club on November 8th.