A FORMER Weaverham High School student and town footballer is gearing up to tackle a world championships this spring as the UK's fastest competitor.

Michael Sandbach, who had spells with Barnton, Middlewich Town, Witton Albion and Northwich Victoria, is now making headlines in HYROX, the World Series of Fitness Racing.

Employed as a full-time engineer in the oil and gas industry with Spirit Energy, Sandbach, who also studied at Mid Cheshire College and Comberbach Primary School, became the first UK male to break the 60-minute barrier in the pro category when winning the Berlin HYROX event in November.

Northwich Guardian: Michael Sandbach tackles the sled pull in HYROX actionMichael Sandbach tackles the sled pull in HYROX action (Image: Contributed)

The 36-year-old member of The Athlete Factors gym in Chester, who clocked 58mins 51secs in Germany, is also the current world record holder for the male doubles with a time of 48:52.

It sets up nicely this relative newcomer to the event for when the world championships take place in Manchester on May 26.

“I am buzzing to hold the title of fastest male pro in HYROX in the UK," said Sandbach.

"This past year I’ve really homed in on how I train and it’s so rewarding to see all the hard work paying off.

"I believe I’m as good as anyone in the league and can’t wait to showcase that further.”

Sandbach has achieved elite status in rapid time in HYROX fitness racing, which kicks off with a one-kilometre run, followed by a workout, and this is repeated eight times.

The workouts are ski Erg, sled push, sled pull, burpee broad jump, rowing, farmer's carry, sandbag lunges and wall balls.

These mass global fitness events attract thousands of competitors in vast indoor venues in front of thousands of spectators. The HYROX event taking place at Manchester Central Convention Complex on January 28 is a 5,000 sell-out.Northwich Guardian: Michael Sandbach sets off on one of the eight 1km runs that feature in HYROX competitionsMichael Sandbach sets off on one of the eight 1km runs that feature in HYROX competitions (Image: Contributed)

Sandbach only found HYROX in 2021 when completing his first race in Birmingham with no targeted training and placed an impressive second.

He now juggles an intense training programme with being a full-time engineer and father.

Sandbach attributes his success to his dedicated and rigorous training schedule, which is something not for the faint-hearted as he trains before work, at lunch and in the evening.

Four mornings a week, he is running in the dark at 5 am.

He then begins his strength session at midday and follows work with a gruelling rower or interval-based conditioning workout.

Sandbach moved into HYROX after he had fallen in love with CrossFit for five years.

Crossfit, which is promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and a competitive fitness sport, incorporating elements from high-intensity interval training such as Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, kettlebell lifting, calisthenics, strongman, was something he took up after 'taking the bodybuilding route' following packing up football around the age of 24.