WATCH: Prison officer Marshall Clark, from Avoch, muscles in on dream British Natural Bodybuilding Federation Scottish over 50s title at Perth Concert Hall after difficult year battling stress and mental health challenges
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A prison officer battling mental health challenges while on sick leave has triumphed against the odds to land a prestigious national bodybuilding title.
Marshall Clark (53), who lives near Avoch in the Black Isle, beat some of Scotland’s finest over 50s competitors after almost six “life-changing” months of arduous training and dietary preparation.
The dad-of-three and grandad of two, married to Becky, was crowned Mr Scotland in his category at the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation Scottish event at Perth Concert Hall last Sunday (June 12).
It marked a remarkable transformation for Mr Clark who admits he was at a very low ebb on New Year’s Day this year when he resolved to refocus his life and pour his energies into competitive bodybuilding.
“It is a huge achievement for me, personally, because this year has been really difficult.,” Mr Clark said.
• Mr Clark's appearance in the video below begins at around 4 mins 35 secs
“To be honest, I was a wee bit disappointed the week before Perth because I felt I’d rightfully won at a Scottish over 50s event, but was given second. Bodybuilding is very subjective, but for two or three days I was a bit dejected, so to come back and earn the vindication I felt I deserved felt pretty amazing.
“It was 22 weeks of dieting and hard work so there were a lot of different emotions. It made everything worthwhile.”
Mr Clark, who trains at The Forge Gym in Inverness, mentored by champion bodybuilder Jack Gunn and owner Dean Sutherland, credited the pair as great influences in his progress.
Pre-pandemic, he had taken on his first two bodybuilding shows, and is now considering refocussing his energies on UK-wide competition in “drug-free” events.
“My absence from work is stress-related, with issues of mental health and strain,” Mr Clark explained. “This has actually been really helpful in giving me focus.
“I think it is something that has to be spoken about more, something many suffer from to varying degrees, something very prevalent at the moment. I’m happy to speak of it because people need to be a bit more open.”