SOME of the region’s bulkiest blokes will put their brawn to the test when they face a series of eye-watering challenges this weekend.

Around 25 competitors will flex their muscles and hope that countless hours in the gym pay off when they line up in Elite Strongman’s North of England qualifier on Sunday. (Sunday, May 26)

For the strongest, fastest and most resilient it could be the first step to landing a place in one of the world’s most high profile strongman contests.

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The top five finishers from each of the two weight categories at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, in County Durham, will qualify for England’s strongest man final.

Those winners go on to the British finals and could be one of five British amateurs who will be invited to America next March for the 2014 Arnold Classic Strongman championship.

Named after Hollywood actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former professional bodybuilder, the ‘Arnolds’ is one of the biggest events in the world for strength athletes.

Elite Strongman organiser and former competitor, Bobby Daglish, of West Pelton, near Chester-le-Street, said: “Spectators on Sunday will see some really amazing feats.

“When I competed a big lift was 90kilos, now the lighter guys are lifting heavier than that, they will be flipping 350kilo tyres.

“It is really extreme, entertaining, fun and fast and very family orientated, my own family are all involved and it is a really amazing thing to watch.”

Among those taking part will be reining North-East Strongman Mike Thom, of Gateshead.

Darlington’s Mark Lawson, a 39-year-old quarryman, is an experienced competitor who has reached previous UK and British finals and Mr Daglish tips him as one of the favourites.

And Allen McGee, of Spennymoor, will move up a weight when he competes on home turf.

There will be two weight classes- under 90kgs and over 90kgs- and events include a log lift, barrel load, van lift and tug-o-war.

The competition at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, off High Street, Spennymoor, starts at noon on Sunday (Sunday, May 26), admission is £5 on the door.