BOLTON's strongest man grooms dogs for a living, can pull a van on his own, eats 7000 calories a day and loves a Carrs pasty is now going up against the country's best.

Shane Burns was crowned the winner at Strongman Bolton 2017 earlier this month, the third time he has taken the title, and is now heading for a national championship.

He will be competing in Folkestone in Kent at the UK Strongest Man under 105kg weight competition on Sunday and will be testing his strength against eleven other competitors.

The event, one of the most illustrious in the country, is a big challenge for Mr Burns, who only entered his first strongman competition six years ago.

When he isn't pulling vans, carrying heavy sacks and lifting weights, the 33-year-old is making a living in a very different way, as a mobile dog groomer.

Known as The Groominator, Mr Burns, from Breightmet, heads out and around making sure that people's dogs are looking their best.

He said: "I am not what people expect when I turn up to groom their dogs."

Speaking about the weekend's event, he added: "It is a big competition, I have had to qualify for it. I had to win an England national event for that.

"There is a lot of static and there is a lot of moving events. I'll be pulling an event and that sort of thing."

Mr Burns was first encouraged enter Bolton Strongman in 2011, when it took place in Farnworth.

He was victorious then and also the following year, before he made a triumphant return in Victoria Square earlier this month.

He said: "I have won it three times now so I am quite happy about that.

"It was in a school playground in Farnworth and everyone said to go for it. I just thought I would have a go. That was my first ever competition."

After his first event, Andy Seddon, who organises Bolton Strongman, noticed Mr Burns' potential and gave him his card, telling him that he can get him places and he has been competing ever since.

While wowing the crowds with feats of strength may seem like glamorous work, it is not without a bit of hard work.

Mr Burns said: "If possible I go to the gym about four times a week and then I do events at the weekend. I'll do about three hours a session in the gym."

As well as hitting the weights in the gym, Mr Burns has found an extra use for the van he uses for his grooming business.

He gets out his harness to pull the vehicle and get that additional training in for the strongman events.

As well as his regime in the gym, Mr Burns' diet is key to making sure he is in top shape.

He said: "I eat between 6000 and 7000 calories a day. I have about seven meals a day and about three or four shakes. They are not massive meals, just topping up. It's a lot of protein, a lot of chicken and pasta."

While a lot of the time the diet has to be strict, even a strongman has to treat himself.

Mr Burns said: "I can have the occasional cheat meal. I like a cheese pasty from Carrs."

While he is now more than used to competing in events around the country, as a Bolton lad born and bred, home will always be where the heart is for Mr Burns.

The event marked a return to competition in the town for him this year following injury problems in recent years.

He said: "I enjoy doing Strongman Bolton. When they brought it back to the town centre this year, someone said to me why don't you do it for your comeback? I enjoy doing Bolton as it is in my hometown. I get a good amount of support from everyone. It is a good atmosphere."

His long-term ambition now is to head stateside and compete on an even bigger stage.