'Maybe, I'm a little crazy': Canadian man dubbed world's strongest priest sets dozens of Guinness records

The newest edition of the Guinness World Records book is out Tuesday, and a Canadian man dubbed the world's strongest priest is prominently featured.

Rev. Kevin Fast from Ontario first began competing in strongman competitions in '94

Rev. Kevin Fast said he would love to try pulling a space shuttle for his next feat of strength. (Paul Borkwood/CBC)

The newest edition of the Guinness World Records book is out Tuesday, and a Canadian man dubbed the world's strongest priest is prominently featured.

Rev. Kevin Fast, a full-time Lutheran minister in Cobourg, Ont., about 100 kilometres east of Toronto, has set more than 30 Guinness records, mostly for pulling heavy objects, such as fire trucks, houses and even an airplane.

A video of Fast pulling a 189-tonne Globemaster aircraft across the tarmac at CFB Trenton 10 years ago has garnered more than eight million views on YouTube.

That feat makes him the record holder for "heaviest aircraft pulled" by a male. At the start, it didn't look as though he'd move the plane, never mind pull it the five metres required to set the record.

"I go into my pull, and I've got all my strength, and I'm trying and trying and trying, and the thing does not move. In my mind, there's a battle going on: this is really embarrassing because people had come from London, New York, all over," Fast told CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Tuesday.

"So I pull, and I don't give up. After about 45 seconds of maximum effort, I no longer could feel anything in my body. Everything was exhausted. And then the plane decides to start moving."

Fast kept moving even after the adjudicator yelled "it's a new record," and his son slapped him on the back to tell him to stop.

"I turned to him and I said, 'Why are you hitting me?' I had lost all sense," Fast said. "I was just in a zone, and my mind had taken over when my body had failed."

Fast first entered a strongman competition back in 1994, when he moved to Cobourg and happened upon a group of men "throwing logs and rocks around."

As Fast tells it, the announcer asked if anyone else wanted to join, and he decided to jump into the fray.

The first event was the caber toss — essentially flipping a telephone pole end over end — but Fast didn't know what to do so he passed on the first round. After he watched the other competitors, he not only completed the second and third attempts — he won.

'It's proved to be a fantastic gift'

"Maybe, I'm a little crazy," Fast said, when asked why he completes such feats of strength.

"I've always had a fascination with strength, and I think that's a basic instinct; so curious about strength that I want to test my strength against others and against objects."

He also raises awareness and funds for various charities when he competes. Fast pulled a three-bedroom house for a Guinness record and raised $70,000 for Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for people in need.

Fast laughed when asked whether, as a reverend, he might be benefiting from some sort of divine intervention. He noted that during the rite of confirmation into the Lutheran church, which happens at age 14, each teen is assigned a Bible verse. Fast's was a fitting verse from Joshua 1:9: "Be strong and courageous … for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

"When I go into competition and I somehow miraculously pull out a big throw, typically the competitors think I've cheated because I've had some divine assistance," Fast said. "And of course that is my position, that God has given me this wonderful gift, and I'm not sure why he gave it to me and what to do with it. But it's proved to be a fantastic gift."

After decades of competition and dozens of records, it doesn't seem like there's much else for Fast to accomplish. But he does say there's one challenge he's keen to tackle.

"If someone could get me the space shuttle, I'd love to have a try at that," he said. "I think that would be the coolest thing possible."


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