Coal hump champ’s hopes for TV debut

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Scarborough’s coal hump world champion John Hunter could soon be appearing on TV as part of a new BBC reality show.

John, 51, of Crossgates, is down to the final stage of applications for World’s Toughest Army, which has been billed as “one of the most physically and mentally challenging processes any TV programme has attempted.”

I think it’ll involve me doing something brutal. It won’t be ten press ups!

John Hunter

The endurance champ, who is set to defend his world coal carrying title in Gawthorpe, West Yorkshire, on Easter Monday, is down to the last 75 applicants.

He has already been to Manchester for an audition and screen test and has now been invited to take part in a fitness test in Hertfordshire on March 28 and 29.

John said: “I think it’ll involve me doing something brutal. It won’t be ten press ups!

“If it involves carrying weight over a distance it will play to my strengths, but if it includes swimming that’s not one of my strong points.

“Whatever it is, it’ll be tough and I would imagine the instructors will be ex Special Forces.”

He added: “I might be one of the oldest taking part - I’d be surprised if there was anyone older than me.”

John currently holds the coal hump world title in the veterans category.

He regularly takes part in the Fan Dance - a challenge which involves climbing up and over Pen-y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons, which stands at 3,000ft, carrying a 30lb pack.

Last year, John helped rescue a fellow competitor who collapsed at the event. After completing the gruelling 15-mile course, he went back up with three others and brought the man down.