Ex-army sergeant, Mark Smith will be trying for his third title as Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man. Mark was shot in the right leg six times and once in the right arm while serving for the Grenadier Guards in Canada. He had to have his right leg amputated above the knee after being injured during a live firing exercise.
Mark, 33, said: ‘I was on life support and I was told if they didn’t amputate my leg that day I wouldn’t see out the rest of the day because it was giving me organ failure. ‘It was killing me, I wasn’t really left with an option. ‘I was more worried about what would happen, being a husband and a dad and having a mortgage.’ Mark joined the Forces when he was 18 but couldn’t continue after losing a limb.
He said: ‘I just loved the adrenaline and excitement of my job, and so I spent the last few years chasing that buzz. ‘I needed something that was going to get me out of bed in the morning. ‘I had so many operations, I dropped to around nine stone and I became unrecognisable to friends and family.
‘I wanted to do something strength based. I needed something that was going to excite me, going to places like Iraq and Afghanistan I loved that environment. ‘I was adamant once I was off the morphine and I was out of hospital, I would get myself as far away from that look as possible.’
Once Mark was released from hospital he started training to make his body stronger. Mark now currently holds the world record in pulling two trucks over 20 meters in 24..35 secs, saying: ‘I was invited down to a taster session to try Disable Strong man and so I went to give it a go and I loved it. ‘So it was a no-brainer, I had always grown up watching the likes of Geoff Capes and the thought of pulling a truck for a living excited me.’
Mark competed in his first competition for Britain’s strongest man in 2016 in Kent, winning two years in a row. Mark said: ‘I wanted to set myself a challenge. ‘I have invested in my own strong man kit because your average gym doesn’t have the material, so I converted my car garage into a strong man gym.’ Mark also competed in the world’s strongest disabled man last year in at the Olympic Park, in London but lost out by three points. This year he hopes to win as he qualifies again for the World’s Strongest Disabled Man, competing in Norway on 8th September. Mark continues: ‘I have got hunger for the worlds that is ultimately the title I want.’ Whilst competing last year Mark managed to lift a world record stone of 140 kilos, aiming this year to lift 150 kilos.
Mark will be competing in England’s Strongest Disabled Man on Easter Monday at Brands Hatch race track. Competing again for Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man in Somerset on 12th May. The current World’s Strongest Disabled title is Greg Bramwell from Rochdale. The Disabled Strongman competition was originally founded in Iceland by Arnar Mar Jonsson, run by four times World’s Strongest Man, Magnus ver Magnusson.