Meet Britain’s Strongest Woman – a size ten former hairdresser who swapped styling locks for pulling trucks.
31-year-old mother-of-two Katherine Bartlett from Southampton weighs just 9st 11lbs and stands just 5ft 6in tall, but she can carry 27 stone on her shoulders and has already secured two titles after only three years in the sport.
Speaking to the Mail Online, she said:
I train five times a week for about 12 hours with a personal trainer that I have. I have also recently set up a strong woman group and I run that for friends and other people interested in the sport.
I first watched Strongman on TV and I knew about the sport but it wasn’t until I went to a weightlifting gym that I got really interested. There I met a woman who looked amazing and she took me along to one of the classes she goes to and I managed to flip their biggest tyre. It was then that I realised that I had a natural strength ability and I decided to train to compete in Strong Women competitions.
Katherine now competes in all of the competitions in the UK and has also entered the European and World championships.
In every competition there will be five events and these will either be timed or rep events. Competitions can be really full on and I tend to go really quiet and get into the zone of what needs to be achieved.
There are times when I have to carry 70kg and once I had to carry 27st worth of weight on my shoulders which was such an incredible thing to do. The truck pulls are the hardest. They require a lot of determination and it is really difficult to practice them as it is not often you have a spare lorry lying around in your back garden!
Earlier on this year, I competed in the World Championships in America in February which was such an eye opener. The UK is so far behind in the sport compared to America and I hope one day us Brits will be able to compete on the same level as them.
Katherine has to juggle her training around her family life, looking after her 12-year-old daughter Eilise and five-year-old son Carson.
Unfortunately Katherine has also been subjected to verbal abuse about her body shape, but she insists the taunts just make her train even harder.
There is a massive confusion with bodybuilding and strongwomen and the two sports are completely different. I have been called some awful things in the past and people think I am disgusting for my body looking the way it is when I am a woman.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with women having a bit of muscle and being strong and if anything, people’s comments make me want to do it more. I love going into a gym into the weight section and seeing the men’s faces when I load up more than what they have on their bar and lift it with ease.