A rather substantial clue to the origins of this event are in its name. Intended to mimic the heavy loads (such as strawbails) that a farmer would have to carry around his farm, this event is a test of grip, strength, speed and – if for distance – endurance.
The strongman must pick up two separate implements, one in each hand, and run (failing that – walk) either for a set distance or for as far as possible. Different competitions will have different rules but, usually, if it is for a set distance the competitor will be able to drop and re-pickup the implements as many times as they need in order to complete the course. If the event is for distance, the competitor will have to stop on their first drop of the implement and the distance walked will be measured.
At World’s Strongest Man level, this event is usually a test of grip as the handles are often thick and the athlete’s grip may have been weaked by previous events. Local competitions will see some strongmen struggling with the initial pickup – with upwards of 130kg in each hand it is equivilent to a rather hefty side-handled deadlift.
Laurence Shahlaei holds a Guinness World Record for farmer’s walk, carrying 150kg in each hand down a 20m course in just 6.71 seconds. He snatched the record from the one and only Big Z – not too shabby, not too shabby at all.