Tom Luke, director at Torque Training in Bristol, took on a 24-hour SkiErg challenge, raising money for Lexi, a girl who suffers with a rare genetic disease.
Not only has Tom helped to raise over £10,000 towards the charity goal, he also smashed the previous SkiErg world record by over 8000m. If you’d like to help, you can still donate here.
How did the idea for the world record attempt come about?
The seed of the idea to attempt this particular world record was planted by John Clark (@thebendingbarbell) who had held the record himself some time ago.
Oddly, this former Strong Man has indirectly pushed me towards ultra-endurance events. I completed my first marathon run with John as part of his 48 Marathons in 48 Days as a support runner and I haven't really looked back since.
With regards to the record itself; it previously stood at 296317m and all the other age grade records were between 283k and 296k. I thought it seemed a natural fit to try and go past 300km for the first time.
Fortunately, I was able to achieve this with a final distance of 305044m.
What’s the reason behind the fundraising?
All this has been in aid of a little girl called Lexi. Lexi suffers with a super rare condition called FOP (Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva). This affects one in two million and has no cure.
The condition means that eventually all of the soft tissues in Lexi's body will turn to bone. It's incredibly cruel and unpredictable. The fundraising has been to pay for a hydrotherapy pool in Lexi's house so her family can try and prolong her quality of life.
How did you approach training for it the SkiErg challenge?
I usually run quite a lot and most of my skiing would typically take place inside shorter workouts. In the end, I decided to switch this around and take the same approach as I did for the ultra-marathon training I did in the summer.
This meant one easy ski per week (50-120mins), one hard interval session per week (30-45mins) and one 'Simulation' session a week (2 hours+). I'd then try and fit in other easy skis in-between to accumulate as much volume as possible. This increased the closer I got to the event itself.
How has Myzone helped in the lead up?
My Myzone heart rate monitor has been invaluable. All my sessions were heart rate based, and having such reliable and easily distinguishable date to use was ideal. All my 'easy' sessions were under 75% max heart rate and, on the day, the second half of the attempt was actually around 65%, which was pleasing.
How many MEPs did you earn during the record?
On the day itself I earned 3338 MEPs, which has really helped me get ahead of things on the Torque Training leaderboard this month!
What advice would you give anyone looking to achieve far more than they thought possible?
Be an optimist. Concentrate on the good things in your life and show gratitude. But most importantly constantly ask yourself the question "why not me?" And then make sure you've done the necessary work so that you can never find an answer to that question. Then just rip into it!
What advice do you have for someone just starting out on their fitness journey?
Don't over think it! Anything is better than nothing. Find movement you enjoy, don't put too much pressure on yourself and aim at being consistent first. Once you crack that bit you can do anything you want!
What is going to make the biggest difference in getting more people active in the years ahead?
Better education around the importance of it. Plus, a more modern approach to the curriculum in schools. Preparing young people for a lifetime of movement instead of just churning out inactive football fans!
Final thoughts from a new world record holder
I'd just like to encourage people to check out the link below and learn more about Lexi and her condition. Ultimately, that's what this is all about!