Britain’s Fittest Farmer, the competition to promote physical and mental health and well-being in farming, is open for entries.
The event, which attracts participants from across the country, allows people to test themselves in a fun and friendly atmosphere. This year there is even a category specifically for the over 40s.
Here are just some of the powerful submissions we’ve already had to inspire you.
See also: Britain’s Fittest Farmer 2022 opens for entries
“I’m always on the go and I love sports,” says 34-year-old Emma from Moorsholm, Cleveland.
After playing hockey for 18 years, she gave up her racquet and began enjoying road and mountain biking, trail and fall running.
“After my father died, I also took up open water swimming to deal with the grief of losing my best friend,” says Emma.
“When I combine all of this with running a farm, I like to think I’m a pretty fit girl!
“When I’m sad or not myself, I often walk on the moor or swim in a lake. Grounding myself in nature has always helped calm my soul.
“Mental well-being and the ability to manage it is so important – especially for farmers.
“As we spend much of our time alone, our connections to others and to nature are vital, and this is a key message I try to share with others,” she says.
After making the Britain’s Fittest Farmer final last year, Melissa is up for the challenge again.
“The mutual support and encouragement was great,” says Melissa from Hampshire, who grew up on a dairy farm.
She keeps fit by going to the gym five times a week and doing cross-country runs.
“I also enjoy nothing more than getting in the camper van and taking the dog for walks and hikes around the UK and exploring our beautiful countryside.”
The 37-year-old wants to help raise awareness of mental health issues.
“When I lost a friend to suicide at the age of 23 who worked on the farm, my eyes opened very quickly and I wanted to understand more and help others,” she says.
“I’ve also learned through my own struggles that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s important to help others open up and find a way to talk or get help during difficult times.”
How to enter
- Upload an image or video to the Britain’s Fittest Farmer website showing how you keep physically fit on a farm. You will also find all competition information there, including the most important dates and conditions of participation
- Tell us a little about your commitment to spiritual wellbeing
- Remember to leave your contact details so we can get in touch with you
How it works
- All eligible participants will be contacted to participate in the qualifiers
- From these rounds the best competitors are selected for the finals.
- Winners will each receive a cash prize of £1,000 and the ‘Britain’s Fittest Farmer’ trophy and will appear in farmers weekly
- See competition terms
- Qualification: 18th-19th June at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, Gloucester
- Final: 17th September at Tom Kemp’s Farm Fitness, Essex
“Farmer, tractor driver, mom and personal trainer all rolled into one,” is how Sylvia describes herself.
The 35-year-old is involved in most aspects of the farm her husband and father-in-law runs in East Lothian.
“As a personal trainer, I train three times a week to keep my body and mind healthy. I have found that keeping fit benefits me in all areas of my life. I try to project that onto my family and clients,” says Sylvia.
“As a busy mother and wife, I know how little time there is to take care of myself.
“Often the needs of others come first and your own take a backseat. I have found peace through movement – it is a form of relaxation and leaves you with a sense of achievement,” she says.
Miles lives by the adage “win the morning, win the day”.
The 34-year-old from Somerset says: “Everything I do to encourage a positive attitude starts at 4.45am when my alarm clock goes off.
“The gym is the best hour of my day. I’m blessed to have an amazing group of friends that I train with every day, including my partner Kate, and when I start doing that, it carries my positivity throughout the day.”
When on the farm, Miles often takes time out to learn something new, listening to audiobooks, podcasts and music to stimulate his mind.
“Taking care of my body is a big part of my mindset,” says Miles, who emphasizes the importance of good nutrition and sleep, as well as the benefits of a massage.
“I surround myself with like-minded friends and make a conscious effort to check in with friends and family regularly.”
Daniel works as a farmer and enjoys spending time with his two children and helping out on his wife’s family farm.
“I train with a good group of friends and we all support each other with our work in the gym. I feel good at the gym before work and in a good mood for the rest of the day,” says Daniel, who also enjoys mountain biking and running.
The 36-year-old from Lancashire was a former tractor driver and sprayer operator and has completed long-distance ultramarathons – including the Bob Graham Round, which climbs 66 miles and 27,000 feet in 24 hours.
“Both of my children enjoy sports like gymnastics and swimming. I encourage them to enjoy these activities and not feel the pressure to do well every time.
“I tell them that as long as they’re having fun with their friends and being active, that’s the priority,” he says.
Farm Manager Kevin Stewart has entered the Over 40s category, a new addition to the competition this year.
To keep fit he uses the gym he has set up in a shed on the farm near Stirling. He also runs in the local forest, enjoys open water swimming, biking and walking his dogs.
“Exercise helps me to switch off from worries, at least for a short time,” says the 52-year-old.
Spending time with family and friends is also good for his mindset, he says. “I have someone on site to chat to when I’m feeling down — and that can be weekly if needed.”
Win £150 with the FarmWell prize
Anyone – whether or not they sign up for Britain’s Fittest Farmer – can enter the FarmWell Awards, run in partnership with the Farming Community Network, for a chance to win a £150 Amazon voucher .
Simply send a short, engaging video to email@example.com showing how to stay physically fit, mentally healthy and raising awareness about wellbeing on the farm.
FarmWell.org.uk is a central resource created by FCN to help you and your farm stay strong and resilient in times of change.
It takes a proactive approach by providing guidance on building personal and business resilience, tips on how to overcome stressful situations and what to do in different scenarios.