MUSCLEMAN Eddie Ellwood is a step closer to his dream of becoming Britain's Strongest Man.

The five-times Mr Universe beat off competition to win the Northern heat of the contest at the weekend.

Last year Eddie's dream of taking the title was destroyed through injury, but he is keeping his fingers crossed that history will not repeat itself.

The 39-year-old, who hails from Horden, said; "I am on top of my injuries at the moment. There was just short of 30 competitors taking part at the weekend and I won by a clear ten points."

Eddie was delighted that his training partner, Darren Saddler from Boroughbridge, took second place and they will both go through to the England finals in three weeks.

Darren travels to Eddie's Hartlepool gym, Ellwood's Fitness World on the Park View Industrial Estate, to train once a week and Eddie also travels to Darren's gym.

Eddie, a dad-of-two, said; "There was no celebrating because we both still have a lot of work to do."

As part of his intense training regime, Eddie, has been pulling a Mercedes recovery truck carrying a Land Rover Discovery.

The combined weight of the two vehicles is an incredible 11 tonnes and 23-stone Eddie has been training to pull the vehicles over a distance of 60ft.

Eddie, began body building 19 years ago during his seven year career as a boxer. He went on to beat the record of movie legend Arnold Schwarzenegger, by winning the Mr Universe title five years running.