Could this be ‘Britain’s Fittest Farmer’?
- Credit: Tom Askew-Miller
A farmer’s son from Dereham is in the running to become “Britain’s Fittest Farmer” after reaching the final of a national competition.
Richard Kerry, 40, will be one of 20 competitors from across the country battling for the title during an adrenaline-fuelled test of their speed, strength and stamina, co-hosted by Farm Fitness founder Tom Kemp at his family farm in Essex on Saturday.
The competition was launched by Farmers Weekly magazine as a fun way of sparking a vital discussion about the physical and mental health of the nation’s agricultural community.
Organisers said as the industry becomes more mechanised, it has become crucial for farmers to ensure they are getting enough exercise to stay fit and healthy, while the tough and isolating nature of the job has also made it increasingly important to focus on mental health and wellbeing.
Mr Kerry grew up in rural Norfolk and today his family runs a small arable and poultry enterprise. He said he has kept fit by playing cricket and hockey for many years and more recently took up CrossFit, which he enjoys because it “plays to his strengths as somebody who does a lot of manual work”.
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“I have always been very aware of my own shortcomings and try hard to talk about them with friends and relatives,” he said.
“I believe this is how we can stay on top of the mental issues that a very isolated lifestyle can create.”
READ MORE: Mental health debate seeks ways to ease the ‘silent suffering’ of farmersThe finalists – 10 men and 10 women – have already progressed through a qualifying event consisting of four tough physical challenges and an interview with the judges focusing on mental health.
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“The qualifier competition was challenging but great fun,” added Mr Kerry. “In a time when we have had very little to do outside of our normal routine the ability to attend an event was a welcome tonic.
“It has also encouraged me to think about my mental health as well as my physical health, this is timely considering the pandemic and it’s impacts.
“Training is going well and I’m ready to give my best at the event this weekend where I hope to show the physical and mental qualities required to be competitive.”
Farmers Weekly’s community editor Oli Hill said: “This competition was designed to be a fun, upbeat way of getting the nation’s farmers to be more proactive about their health – mental and physical.
“It seeks to support farmers’ amazing work to put food on our plates and care for our countryside, by helping them to ensure they are fit to do one of the toughest jobs.”
“Every single one of our finalists make fantastic ambassadors for health and wellbeing in the agricultural industry.
“They are all deeply impressive individuals and I’m really looking forward to seeing them run, jump, lift and squat their way to victory this weekend.”