The winners of Britain’s Fittest Farmer have been crowned after battling it out at the finals in Essex.
The competition was fierce, the camaraderie were strong and our four winners get to keep their coveted titles for a year.
Organised by Farmers Weekly, this unique event – promoting physical and mental health in agriculture – involved a round of qualifiers and phone interviews, as well as the grand final.
See also: Britain’s Fittest Farmer 2022 – meet the finalists
Watch the action from the finals and read more about the winners below.
Winners: Under 40s
Eifion Roberts, 26, Anglesey
“The Britain’s Fittest Farmer final was one of the best days of my life – although winning wasn’t the most important thing. It was about meeting so many wonderful people and making some new friends,” says Eifion.
Having come third in the 2021 event, he was determined to improve on that result this year, so had been training hard.
He’d been out mountain running and had joined a CrossFit gym in the spring.
“Last year, I would have described myself as a ‘farmer who was fairly fit’, but I’d really put in the hours training this time round.”
Brought up on a beef and sheep farm in North Wales, Eifion attended agricultural college and had a spell in New Zealand before working his way up the farming ladder.
He is a now farm manager looking after 900 milking cows across two units.
“Agriculture comes with bad and the good days, so keeping a positive mindset is important. You need a clear head, so getting to the gym is important for me. I get in from work, have something to eat and head to the gym – when I come out I feel like a new man.”
He tries to get to the gym three times a week, with strength work a particular focus, plus he enjoys running.
“It’s a great stress relief and so good for my mental wellbeing. I put the music on and I’m in a different world.”
Over the years, he’s played competitive football and rugby, while another achievement was completing the 15-peak challenge in Snowdonia, which involved covering 60km and more than 4,000m of climbing.
“I completed it in 14 hours – although my feet were very sore at the end of it. I love a challenge and training for it, though.
“I’m the right age to be working hard and progressing in the agriculture industry. I can be someone who stresses over things, so I control my mindset by trying to be positive and by not worrying too much about the little things.”
Setting goals has always been important to Eifion – because small daily goals can, he says, turn into big, life-changing ones.
“So don’t give up on yourself, keep working on your weaknesses and not focusing solely on your strong side. Having that kind of mindset will keep you in positive mood. And it will make you into that person that you were always meant to be.
“In the same way as ‘you are what you eat’, I’ve come to learn that if you surround yourself with good, successful people, you will eventually get into a good place.”
As for his future goals?
“I certainly want to come back to Britain’s Fittest Farmer and see if I can retain my title next year.”
Jacalyn Dunlop, 26, Glasgow
“When I get my teeth into something, I like to give it my best,” says Jacalyn, who made the trip to Essex from Glasgow.
“I’m quite a determined person – so I was focused on giving this my best shot, but I was still really shocked to win because the standard was so high.”
Jacalyn fought off stiff competition to take the title back to East Kilbride.
“It was a brilliant, enjoyable day and I was over the moon when the results were announced.”
Jacalyn heads to the gym five or six times a week, following a CrossFit programme, plus attends CrossFit classes. She’s also recently qualified as a personal trainer.
“Training in the gym is my favourite way to achieve – and maintain – positive mental wellbeing,” she says.
“Having been brought up in the farming industry, I know many people who have suffered from poor mental health and do not take time for themselves to relax, unwind and do something they enjoy!”
Having grown up on a beef and sheep farm in south-west Scotland – and worked on a dairy farm while studying at university – Jacalyn is a lover of the countryside and takes every opportunity to get out into the great outdoors.
“I particularly enjoy hill walking. It gives you a real sense of achievement. It’s so hard on the way up, but you feel great – almost zen-like – when you get to the top. It’s just so rewarding and the scenery is beautiful.
“I’ve climbed many Munros around Scotland, often walking at nights and weekends with family and friends.
“I always encourage people to meet for walks outdoors in the countryside as there’s no better way to de-stress after a busy or worrying day.
“Doing physical exercise is so important for your mental health. It helps you keep things in perspective and gets you away from any worries.
“I also occasionally go running, as this is a great way to unwind after a stressful day.”
Winning the coveted prize has spurred Jacalyn on to focus even more on her fitness. “Everyone was so supportive to each other on the day, it’s made me even more passionate about exercise. It’s given me a real confidence boost.”
Joint winners: Over-40s
Lucy Sheffield, 44, East Sussex
Encouraging others to push themselves and improve their fitness is a great source of joy to Lucy Sheffield.
“It was one of the reasons I wanted to take part in Britain’s Fittest Farmer,” she says.
“I love training individually, but also with a team. It’s wonderful when you see someone who thinks they can’t do any more, manage to do it. It really is the best feeling and incredibly rewarding.”
Lucy, who returned to the family farm two years ago to work alongside her dad and husband after 20 years in different industries, says she feels “privileged” to be able to enjoy and experience every farming day.
She belongs to a local gym, but also has a farm gym she can pop into when time is limited – and weight-lifting is one of favourite activities.
“I aspire to be as strong, successful and as driven as my dad – and being physically fit is one part of being ‘more Dad’.
“I always say I train for my brain, and the effect it has on my body is an added bonus,” she says.
“I was thrilled to see that BFF opened up an over-40s category this year, as we all know farmers don’t necessarily typically fall into the younger age groups!”
Graeme Slater, 42, Lancashire
“Age is no barrier to staying fit,” says Graham, who really enjoyed taking part in Britain’s Fittest Farmer in 2020 and signed up immediately when he spotted there was a category for the over-40s this year.
“I feel so much better after a workout,” he says. “You really get the feel-good factor. Exercise gives you self-belief – you feel like anything is possible!”
Having been brought up on a family farm, the Garstang-based dad-of-three now works as a cheesemaker, but still helps out at weekends and in the evenings on the dairy and sheep farm.
“I’m up incredibly early – some days I start at 2am and finish at noon or 1pm, so I often nip to the gym then, before I pick the kids up from school.
“The days can be very long, but doing exercise is precisely what gives me energy for those long days.”
In his 20s, Graeme played a lot of rugby and football, but now prefers lower injury-risk activities and is a regular gym-goer.
“I particularly enjoy ‘endurance’ work. I’ve found as I’ve got older, I’m better at this, rather than power and speed.
“I’m a naturally competitive person and I like testing myself. Exercise helps me get away from any work-related stresses. It really gives me a positive outlook on life.”
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