Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Olympian tackles Man v Food eating challenge

HE’S used to tackling mountains of the outdoor variety but Graham Bell can now add mounds

HE’S used to tackling mountains of the outdoor variety but Graham Bell can now add mounds of food to his list of achievements.

The former Olympic skier took part in a competitive eating contest, attempting to devour 4.6kg of pub grub in an hour.

The contest, called Man v Food, was inspired by the American reality television show of the same name and devised by Will Shaw, head chef at the Little Angel in Henley.

Mr Bell, who lives in New Street, was persuaded to take on the challenge by his friend Mark Atherton, who also took part, together with three other men.

Each contestant was given four 8oz burgers, four portions of chips, a garnish of lettuce, tomato, gherkin and onion and a bowl of macaroni cheese to eat.

They also had to polish off a bowl of coleslaw — all washed down with a thick Oreo milkshake.

The food left at the end of the hour was weighed and the competitor with the least left was declared the winner. The pub provided each man with a bucket in case they were taken ill during the challenge, which was watched by cheering customers.

Mr Bell said: “It was clear from the start that no one would finish, so I went for the heaviest food first.

“Iwas sitting next to last year’s winner and could see Mark’s plate too, so I knew fairly early on I was not in the running for the victory.

“I ate three of the four massive burgers with cheese and bacon but left the bread rolls and chips.

“I was about a quarter of my way through the macaroni cheese when my stomach said no more.

“The experience was great for the first five to 10 minutes with some great support.

“From 15 minutes to the half hour mark was a bit of a struggle, then for the last half hour just really painful in the belly. Afterwards I needed to go for a short walk to try to help the food down, then had difficulty sleeping that night. I pretty much did not need any food the following day.”

Mr Bell came third and said: “There’s no shame in a podium position.” His wife Sarah, who witnessed the challenge, said: “It was just painful watching. I know if he’d come first he would have been really ill!

“He did it because his mate said ‘this will be a laugh, let’s do it’. Maybe they’d had one too many beers at the time.

“There was a massive amount of food in front of them. I said to Graham ‘that’s more calories than I eat in a year!’

“I think it was complete madness and he couldn’t sleep that night with all that meat lying in his stomach. There’s absolutely no way he would ever do it again.”

The competition was won by Simon Wan, from Wokingham, who takes part in eating challenges around the UK under the nickname Hungry Ronin. Mr Atherton was the  runner-up.

Pub manager Christopher Young said: “The guys did quite well. They all started pretty rapidly but with about 10 minutes left they sat back in their chairs because they couldn’t eat anymore.

“To be fair, I could only manage one of the burgers!”

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