Army veteran from Gillingham wins World's Strongest Disabled Man title for a second time

  • WATCH: Full video report on how lifting weights changed the life of an Army veteran from Gillingham

An Army veteran from Gillingham has won the World's Strongest Disabled Man title for the second year in a row.

Mac McLaren, 45, only started competing as a Strongman 18 months ago and retained his title in Canada last weekend.

He told ITV News Meridian: "It means so much to win. I lost my mum in February last year and when I got into this I said to her, do you know what I'm going to get there no matter what it does to my body.

"Coming back into the gym after serving in the Army has relit a fire I didn't know was still there and just having Strongman has given me a focus."

Mac McLaren completing a 90kg log press. Credit: WSDM

The former solider was medically discharged from service after a recurring leg injury never healed and he has been left with immense neurological pain ever since.

Born in Scotland, Mac served in the Scots Guards and went on to serve in the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

During a tour in Bosnia in 1999, Mac was involved in an explosion, where he sustained minor physical injuries, but has suffered with PTSD as a result. He went on to tear his knee and was forced to have surgery twice.

While on tour in Iraq, Mac was breaking for cover when he tore his knee again and was medically discharged in 2005 - with his right leg deteriorating to the point that he is planning on having it amputated.

But he was determined not to let it stop him from competing. He won four out of the six disciplines at the event, which included:

  • A 280kg Axle Deadlift - A personal best

  • A 125kg Farmers Hold

  • A 90kg Log Press

  • Pulling a 3.5 ton truck - the only competitor in his category to finish

  • Mac hopes his latest World title can encourage more disabled men and women to start lifting weights and calls on big sponsors to help grow the sport

The former soldier puts much of his success down to the help of his coaches at Bulks Gym in Gravesend.

When Mac asked Jay Hughes, a former Strongman competitor himself, to join his specialist classes, he adapted the exercises to suit his disability.

Jay said: "To have Mac in the gym is amazing because his whole demeanour is intoxicating.

"From the moment Mac walks in, his willingness to work, his motivation, his drive and people see that and with his difficulties, how does anyone else say 'I can't be bothered to do this?' when Mac is coming in doing this and attaining that with the conditions he faces in day-to-day life."

  • Mac's coach Jay tells ITV Meridian how hard it is to win back-to-back World titles

"That's the drug of this game, it's the chase to be the best", Jay added.

"It's a different ball game when you are the best to keep the motivation to carry on. So to do that twice, let alone two times in a row is amazing so hats off to him."