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Pandemic can’t stop Cedar Rapids strongman Big Ken Mcclelland

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 11:23 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Big Ken Mcclelland of Cedar Rapids was used to throwing cars around and pulling semi’s and competing in World’s Strongest Man competitions all over the world, but that all came to a screeching halt when the pandemic started.

“You know all the ones I had planned for last year: Norway, Ireland, Masters World Strongman, all of them canceled,” Mcclelland said. “At one point it was like, who knew when you were going to get to compete again.”

Mcclelland took the time off to get his body right and even had surgery.

“I took the opportunity to go down to the U and have some bone spurs removed from my elbow that had been bugging me for years,” he said.

The time off also gave Mcclelland, who turned 46 last Sunday, time to reflect on his career as a strongman.

“At one point there was a time when this is who I was - I was a strongman,” he said. “This summer kinda helped me realize that this is cool, and it is fun, and I really enjoy it, but it is not who I am. It’s just a small part of what makes me, me.”

Now Ken is healed and rejuvenated and is back in the gym working hard to get ready for the World’s Strongest Man and the Masters World Strongman competitions. But he realizes his days competing are winding down.

“The sport training, heavy lifting training, to the point that I do, it can be a little hard wear and tear,” he said. “You know pushing that edge of human performance for that long, it will catch up to you eventually, so you gotta be smart.”

Big Ken has had some great moments in the sport like winning the World Masters Ultimate Strongman Championships in Belfast in 2019, but this might be his final year of competing.

“I am actually kind of somewhat looking forward to not having to walk in and dead lift a small house,” he said with a smile. “At some point you have to think about life and health, and you don’t see to many 50-year-old dudes rolling around at 365 pounds - which is what I weigh right now.”

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