December 12 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 17, 2012
Walking or running 20 kilometres is enough of a challenge for most people, but personal trainer Matt Wolstenholme decided to go one step further by travelling the distance while setting a football keepy-uppy world record.
The 30-year-old, from north London, established the benchmark for ‘longest distance juggling a football’ by keeping the ball in the air without using his hands for 20km – 50 laps around the athletics track at Harrow School.
His efforts have been viewed on YouTube almost 135,000 times, and Matt has also been tweeted and blogged about by football fans all across Europe, as well as from places as far afield as Indonesia, Peru, Vietnam and the US.
Matt took just under five hours to complete the challenge and touched the ball an estimated 36,000 times.
He has practised his football skills since childhood, but his feat is all the more remarkable as he was struck down with a mystery back condition in his early 20s which left him in chronic pain and barely able to walk.
Arsenal fan Matt said: “I’m chuffed to bits with the record. It’s amazing to be able to call myself a world record holder. The reaction I’ve had has been amazing, I’ve had tweets from all over the world congratulating me.
“It was a tough challenge, I was out there for five hours in the wind and rain and I didn’t eat or drink anything. And obviously I couldn’t just pop to the loo.
“Most of the time I simply kicked the ball from foot to foot, but there were a couple of hairy moments around the bends and every once in a while I had to use my knees to control the ball. Everything was aching by the end, but it was worth it.
“When my back was bad a trip to the kitchen for a cup of tea was a big journey, so I would never have envisaged doing something like this.”
Matt regained full mobility through a strict exercise regime after an epidural injection to his spine, and he was inspired to become a personal trainer. He has also worked as a sports coach at spinal injury charity Aspire.
He said: “I understand from personal experience how important exercise is. It’s brilliant making a living doing something you are passionate about.”
Matt set his keepy-uppy benchmark on August 30, but had a nervous wait before Guinness World Record issued official confirmation.
During the attempt, Matt brought attention to a cause close to his heart by wearing a Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) campaign logo.