Moray strongwoman Steffie aims to inspire those tackling illness
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A MORAY competitive strongwoman and strength coach is hoping her success can inspire others who are battling against mental illness.
Steffie Murray, from Buckie, was one of eight of the very best Scottish strength athletes at the televised Scotland Strongest Woman competition on July 3 at Grangemouth Stadium, run by Glenn Ross at Ultimate Strongman.
Ahead of the competitors was a series of five gruelling events. First up was a 200kg tyre flip, followed by a circus dumbbell press weighing 40kg then shouldering an 85kg sandbag.
Steffie and her fellow competitors were then faced with pulling an 8.5 tonne truck before finishing off with Atlas stones weighing an eye-watering 70kg-100kg.
At the end of the contest, Steffie found herself placed a respectable fifth out of eight, coming just one point off fourth and four points from third place.
She said: "I was invited to compete with two weeks notice so had very little prep.
"To train the truck pull I harnessed myself to my partner's Mokka and ran with it behind my childhood home and when that was successful, I went to Macduff and pulled a cousin's Mitsubishi pick-up truck uphill."
However, the contest had special meaning for her beyond her placing on the leaderboard.
"This result means a very great deal to me for a couple of reasons," she continued.
"During the pandemic I became very ill with depression, to the point I could no longer work, leave my house or leave my bed.
"My illness got so bad I really didn't think I would be here today. Just over a year ago I started training again and I have managed to build myself back up to compete against the very strongest in Scotland. Every woman who placed above me in the competition was either a Scottish champion or a Scottish record holder. This is only my fourth competition ever.
"Another reason why this result was special is that I lost a very dear friend to cancer in December last year. She always believed in me and encouraged my strongwoman career. I promised my friend that I would be Scotland's Strongest Woman one day.
"Just before the truck pull I blew a kiss up to my friend and this moment was captured on camera. This photograph means more to me than any medal ever will.
"Now, I am training for Scotland's Strongest Woman next year and I am coming to win the title and bring it home to Buckie.
"I hope to be an inspiration to those who suffer with mental illness or any illness that affects their day-to-day living. I want to show them that you can beat this, you are not your illness, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.
"Also to tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness and medication taken to live a fulfilling life. I am on medication that leaves me very tired and suffering from brain fog, so some days can be a battle and others I find the strength to continue.
"With the love of my friends and family, and my dear friend I know I will be Scotland's Strongest Woman."