When strongman Graham Hicks isn’t hoisting boulders and pulling aeroplanes he’s usually busy servicing Eurofighters in his job as a British Aerospace systems support worker.
And winning Britain’s Strongest Man 2019 could be just the kind of jet boost Graham’s strength career needs.
With the retirement of 2017 World’s Strongest Man Eddie Hall, this year’s showdown is wide open, providing the perfect opportunity for Hicks to claim the major title that has eluded him so far.
But finding time to train, along with his work and family commitments has been a major challenge for the 5 foot 10 inch, 24-stone powerhouse and he sees breaking his duck at the Giant Live event at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield on Saturday as a stepping stone to bigger things.
Hicks is known for his static strength, particularly in the log press, but at last year’s Britain’s Strongest Man he exhibited the kind of all-round athleticism and speed that make him a real favourite against past champions such as Terry Hollands and Laurence Shahlaei.
“A win could open doors for me,” said the 33-year-old father of two from Morecambe.
“Hopefully it would provide me with the support I need to do more training, competing and the kind of recovery work I just don’t have time for.
“I’m there to win. It would mean a lot; the level of talent in Britain right now is massive.
“Pushing Eddie hard last year and finishing second was the highlight of my year. I’ve trained harder than ever for this show. If the events are right, that title’s mine.”
Hicks will take on 11 other men for Britain’s top title with three qualifying spots for World’s Strongest Man also up for grabs.
The Morecambe man is feeling good despite only recently returning from two years in the wilderness as he battled crippling back pain, a hernia operation in 2016 setting him on the road to recovery.
“I couldn’t even bend over to do the dishes,” he said.
“Every time I step into the gym right now, I feel like I’m getting stronger and stronger.
“Europe’s Strongest Man is another title I’m looking at. If I could win that, who know what the future could hold?
“I’ve been competing since 2010, but I still feel I haven’t hit my peak. There’s more to come.”