CHARLIE Gard has broken the Guinness World Record for the number of burpees in an hour, smashing out 851 burpees and beating the previous record holder by 70.
On Sunday 22 July, Mr Gard, with the support of his wife, family, friends and onlookers, pushed through an intensive session to break the Guinness World Record at CF42 gym on Patrick Street in Hobart.
Mr Gard is an assistant exercise physiologist at the Royal Hobart Hospital, and is currently studying a Master of Teaching at the University of Tasmania.
He said he has always had a passion for fitness and keeping healthy.
“I’ve always wanted to be a Guinness World Record holder, I’ve been buying and reading the books since I was a kid,” he said.
“For my next challenge, I wanted to combine my passion for fitness and charity and I thought that this would be the best way to do it.”
After his father-in-law Craig was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Mr Gard was eager to show his support through fundraising for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
“The circumstances which aligned with my plans to break a world record were not great, but the opportunity to raise awareness and funding for the Prostate Cancer Foundation is a great way for me to help other families who are going through the same thing,” Mr Gard said.
Mr Gard chose to attempt to break the Guinness World record for the most chest-to-ground burpees in an hour, a record which was set at 781 by the previous holder.
Since March, he has been training for this event and raising awareness of his Everyday Hero fundraising page, where he set the original fundraising goal at $750.
Mr Gard focused on strength training during his lunchtimes and practising burpees after work each day.
He said he had been averaging around 400-500 burpees in half and hour every second day since the beginning of his training.
“I was pretty confident I could break the record,” he said.
The day of the world record was an emotional, painful and celebratory one for Mr Gard and his family.
His wife Liv and 18-month-old daughter Ivy came out to watch, as well as his cousin Hamish Hall, who has swum the English Channel.
With a goal of 840 burpees in an hour, Mr Gard started the challenge at a fast pace.
“Doing it was hell,” he said.
“I started at a faster pace than I was intending to and I was racing ahead.
“I was in two minds whether or not to back off but decided to keep pushing myself harder and harder.”
Approaching the previous record didn’t make the challenge any easier.
“It wasn’t a relief when I got to the 781 (previous record) mark, because I knew I still had about four and a half minutes to go,” Mr Gard said.
“I was in absolute agony and it was tempting to back off it hurt so much, but I knew that I’d be filled with regret if I didn’t push myself that bit harder for Craig.
“I remember thinking for me this is a short amount of pain for a short period of time, but Craig and the family have been and will be suffering through pain for much longer.
“I knew I had to put up with it for them, so I did.”
Looking back on the record-breaking day, Mr Gard is still proud of his achievements.
“I’ve always had good mental and physical strength throughout my life but doing this has definitely improved it,” he said.
“I was surprisingly able to hang on for longer than I thought in the end, so pushing myself to my limits paid off.
“Making my friends and family proud is an amazing feeling.”
Mr Gard has now raised more than $8000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
He hasn’t ruled out breaking another fitness world record in the future but has decided to take a break from burpees for now.
Mr Gard has submitted all of his evidence of the event to the Guinness World Records and is awaiting official confirmation that he did indeed break the record.
He will hear the verdict in a few months time.
Caption: Charlie Gard broke the Guinness World Record for the number of chest-to-ground burpees in an hour.