A SURREY athlete will go through “hell on earth” as he attempts to set a new world record by doing 2,223 push-ups in an hour.
James Saward-Anderson, 25, will take his second shot at the record at Café 1001 in Shoreditch on Saturday 5 March in order to raise money for charity.
And despite falling painfully short in November last year – managing 1,827 of his 2,223 total – James says there’s no way he will give up.
The Surrey born endurance athlete, now living in Streatham, said: “Rest assured, it’s going to take hell on earth to get me this record, but I’m going to do it. It’s kind of what I do. It’s the latest and hardest challenge I’ve ever done.”
In September 2014 James set the Guinness World Record for most weight lifted on a kettle bell in an hour, managing to hoist 12,337 kilograms in total.
But he admits training for his latest challenge has been harder than ever.
James, who appeared on Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week on BBC2 last year, said: “The training I have undertaken has been brutal. I’ve had many times where I’ve thought I want to quit.
“But that’s part of the training. If you don’t have those moments where you think you’re going to quit then you’re not training hard enough.
“When training pushes you to the dark places of your mind, when you reach that stage during the attempt you know how it feels, you know how to get through it.”
James is attempting the challenge to raise money for Water Aid and Inspirational Youth, as he tries to “leave the earth a little bit better than when I entered it”.
Yet he admits not everybody understands his motivations.
“I regularly get called insane, people don’t understand what I do and why I do it. But I don’t understand why other people don’t do it,” he said, “I’d say if you’re not pushing yourself in your day-to-day life then you’re wasting a wonderful gift. There are no excuses.
“I like to win, I like to compete, to be at the summit. I’ll never be perfect but I want to be the fittest person on the planet. I want to be known as the guy who’s done the hardest records across disciplines. Running, strength, press-ups. I want to do it all.
“I’m intrinsically motivated, having the certificate would be nice but it’s more than that for me. It is good banter, to say in a bar like ‘hey, I’ve got a world record,’ but I do it for myself and the charities more than anything.”
If he completes the world record attempt on Saturday, James has no intention of taking a break.
He added: “I don’t know what my next challenge will be, but I know it will be hard. I’ll look in the Guinness world record book, look around the world, and I’ll find something and do it.”
You can support James and his chosen charities by donating on his JustGiving page.