By Joe Pagnelli
A man who claims to have the ‘World’s Strongest Toe’ has tried to insure it for a stomping £1 million after breaking all but one toe – but says he was rebuffed as they ‘didn’t take him seriously’.
Alan ‘Nasty’ Nash’s, 59, toe is the destructive tool that nailed him a record-breaking 15 toe wrestling world championship titles – no small feat for his bone-crunching size 11 feet.
The champion, from Stoke-on-Trent, says he’s yet to find someone able to go toe-for-toe against him despite breaking all but one of his ten toes over 25 years in the sport.
The ve-toe-ran says he had his second toe surgically removed and its bone ground down to a powder after suffering bone crunching injuries in the 1997 championship.
Alan has been an undeniably dominant force at the world championships held at the Bentley Brook Inn in Ashbourne, Derbyshire and claims he’d rather ‘break his leg’ than lose.
Manufacturing engineer Alan said: “I’m the 15-time world champion because I scare people before I even walk into the ring, people know my reputation – I won’t lose no matter what, I don’t care if I’ve got to break my leg, I won’t lose.
“I have the mind-set of a champion all year round, I don’t believe anyone can beat me.
“This is one of the most violent sports out there. I’ve beaten hundreds of people and done damage to all sorts of people – broken knee caps, toes.
“I just don’t like losing, and because people know I won’t back down, it gives me a psychological edge.
“I would say I have the world’s strongest toe.
“Matches are played out of a best of three and normally last between three to four minutes, but people only last a couple of seconds against me.
“I’ve tried to insure my toe for £1 million but they wouldn’t agree to it. They wouldn’t take me seriously – I think they thought I was having a laugh.”
The adrenaline junkie has been the most dominant toe wrestler of all-time and is now an ambassador of the sport he’s loved for 25 years.
Alan stepped into the ‘toe-dium’ – as it is officially known – for the first time in 1994 after suffering persistent bouts of boredom.
The eccentric man – voted 2nd most eccentric man in Britain in 2002 – had sought out different outlets to fulfil his desire for oddity, including activities such as chicken whispering, dwarf throwing and egg breaking – for which he holds the Guinness world record of 60 eggs cracked between his toes in a minute.
But the stocky man found his calling while working for a band who were performing during the 1994 toe wrestling world championship.
Alan, who stands at 5’11” and 16 stone 4 lbs, had 12 hours to kill and decided to sign up to compete in what would be the first of his 15 world titles.
Toe wrestling isn’t just a trivial summer pastime for Alan, who says he spends four nights a week training his legs and backs – ‘I do hundreds of squats’ – and even applied for the sport to appear in the 2000 Olympics.
Alan said: “Coming up to the championship I’m training as many nights as I can, and I start training around Christmas so it’s a six-month process.
“It’s about three to four times a week for six months, then in the month leading to the championships I go every night.
“I don’t just work on my legs, but I work on my shoulders. I do a couple hundred squats a day to get myself in shape.
“Rounds normally last just a few seconds with me, but with this Italian guy we couldn’t move our toes and it lasted about an hour, so I’ve started training my shoulders to be able to withstand it.
“I used to go to Britannia Stadium [home ground of Stoke City Football Club] after hours and two nights a week I’d run up one row of the seats, back down, and do it around the entire stadium – it would take about an hour.
“My legs would be so pumped, I couldn’t even walk back to the car in the car park.”
Toe wrestling has been a positive experience for Alan, who despite the broken toes, has travelled the world and made friendships with other eccentrics such as himself.
People such as Alan’s long-time rival ‘The Toe-minator’, ‘The Count’ – a comically tall and well-spoken man who’d show up in a tuxedo and top hat – Billy ‘Big Toe’ – whose left foot was a size 14 and his right a size 12 – and the ‘Baby Bikers’ – who would turn up in their Harley Davidson’s wearing nappies and dummies.
With a trophy room boasting 23 awards and retirement just around the corner, Alan has already set his eyes on the future, training his step-daughter Ruby Mae Parkes, nine, who is the current junior world champion.
Alan said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of this, I look forward to the championships every year – I’ve got to go on shows and do all kinds of things I would have never had to chance to do.
“I like to think of myself as an ambassador of the sport, and I want to push the sport to its limits.
“What I love the most is the trash talk – just knowing that they can’t do a thing about it, I will win.
“I love winding people up, I’ll stare people down and laugh at them while they’re struggling.
“I’m 60 next year and have won many trophies, and my step-daughter Ruby is also a champion so toe wrestling will always be part of our family.”