KEVIN Murray of Borrisoleigh represented Ireland in the Master World Strongest Man Championship 2012 in Belfast, held last Sunday and Monday. He placed eighth in the championship, which pitted strongmen from countries including Poland, Australia, and the USA against one-another.
Starting last Thursday, Belfast held three different categories of Strongman contests: The UK Strongest Man, Junior UK Strongest Man, and Kevin’s category, The Master World Strongest Man.
The feats of strength included lifting a one-tonne car, pulling two trucks uphill, and carrying 100-145kg “Stones of Strength”. The Masters category is open only to strongmen over forty years old. Kevin qualified for the Belfast event by winning the All-Ireland Masters Strongman Competition, which was held in Carlow last August bank holiday weekend. “Every guy I met at the competition was fantastic” Kevin said afterwards. “I’m proud of myself, and I think I represented myself well, but weight is a very important factor in these competitions”. At seventeen stone, he was the lightest man in the competition, the heaviest being stone.
He brought along suppporters in his friends, family Among his friends were “The Kilcommon Crew”, whom Kevin trains with in a shed in Kilcommon every week using improvised homemade equipment. “The best friends anyone could have”, he calls them.
At twenty years of age, Kevin joined Thurles’ Powerhouse Gym, run by Pat McNamara. “I tried to do a bit of body-building at the time, but the dieting wasn’t for me. I was too fond of my food. Later, in 01, a Strongman competition was held in the South of Ireland, Wexford I think. We had no idea what we were getting into, all the way home on the bus we had to pull up and get out because we were so cramped up”.
Kevin re-entered the competition in 2002, then called The Republic of Ireland Strongman, and won.
Kevin is now 42 and lives with his wife Mary in Borrisoleigh, earning a living as a landscape gardener and strength trainer. He has recently begun training at Mountain Fitness; a start-up gym at the foot of the Devil’s bit run by his friend Tom Kenneally. Kevin also hopes to start up a boot camp in the area, as he feels Irish people are especially ill-informed on the correct way to train. “People go to the wrong people and get the wrong advice. You have to be functionally screened first to see what you’re capable of. If you’re not able to do squats and attempt to do them straight away, you’re going to injure yourself. Nutrition is a mad, mad part of it too, and there’s so little known by most people about nutrition”.