Rolonde Bradshaw is a humble and kind man with a dogged drive and determination. To overcome a troubled past and find his way to help others do the same meant it was an absolute honour for me that he took the time to write this piece for Clean and Pressed.
I was asthmatic, wore glasses and was thin as a kid. I also lived in several abusive households and developed a lot of unhealthy coping strategies including drug use. I joined the army as soon as I could aged 16, however my cannabis use earned me 28 days in the Army Jail and a dishonourable discharge just weeks before my 17th Birthday. Too scared to go home I moved into my mates’ mums house; she was in prison for supplying a lad who then died in the flat. It was then inhabited by a heroin dealer and his cronies. I
started down a road that culminated in a detox from heroin, crack and benzodiazepines in 2008 aged 32. I had a lot of hang ups and stuff to address when I got clean which I started to do there in a rehab. During my time there I wanted to look stronger, healthier and be more confident. I had hang-ups about being frail and too weak; I hated myself and wanted to feel better.
On the day of the competition I was nervous as hell but when I got there I just started helping out and making friends. I loved how approachable and supportive everyone was. People encouraged their opponents and consoled each other, it was beautiful. A lad with one leg missing at the knee competed with us as an able bodied athlete, there was triumph and loss. I frigging loved it. Since then I’ve competed my way through a divorce, job loss, grief, arguments and more. I’ve kept lifting and it’s kept me anchored to the world, it’s given me strength, it’s taught me discipline, resilience and respect. It’s taught me the value of a friendly word when you’re arse is twitching
Rolonde as well as being a Personal Trainer is also available as an Inspirational Recovery Speaker and does a lot of work with recovering addicts. If you would like to get in touch with him please go to his Facbook page - Rolo the Walker - Recovery Speaker
Several of the photos shown in this article are credited to Steve Strongmanfan who is a fantastic photographer and a regular on the Strongman scene. Thank you Steve for your continued hard work!