AN Olympic torch bearer smashed a world record today by rowing 100km in less than six hours.
Buoyed up by Olympic fever, Phil Craze and his colleague Fergus MacKay managed to row the distance in five hours, 55 minutes and 17 seconds, beating the previous record by almost 4 minutes.
IT manager Phil has already broken a British record and two world records by rowing for 24 hours, raising £9,000 for his chosen charities the Stroke Association and MS Society.
Today’s challenge, which began at 10am, involved Phil and Fergus taking turns to row 1km approximately every three minutes and 30 seconds.
Phil said: “My initial feeling is relief, but when I get past that I know it will feel brilliant! The support was fantastic and it’s great to raise awareness and money for the charities.
“We hadn’t considered the heat when we were training and there were times I could feel cramp set in, but we didn’t think we would beat the time by that much, so overall it went even better than we had hoped.
Fergus added: “We don’t have anything planned celebration wise, but there is a cold pint of Guinness calling my name and I’m looking forward to lying still for a while because every muscle in my body is aching.”
The previous record for the over-30 100km tandem was five hours, 59 minutes and six seconds.
Phil was inspired to his Olympian-level challenges after his brother had a stroke at the age of 37. He is still supporting his brother while he recovers.
The determined rower was shocked to learn how high the number of young people to have strokes was and began raising awareness through various challenges.
The Stroke Association and MS Society nominated Phil to carry the Olympic torch in Milton Bridge, near Penicuik, Midlothian, last month for his efforts to raise money for the two organisations so far.
The MS Society also receives support as Phil’s mother in law has had the condition for the last 20 years.
This condition has had a huge impact on her life and caused her to fall and break her leg.
Karen Hodgins, Fundraising Manager for the Stroke Association said: “Phil’s commitment and determination to help raise awareness of stroke and of course vital funds to support our work is absolutely fantastic.
“He managed to rope Fergus into this awe-inspiring challenge this time and we would like to thank them both sincerely for their incredible effort.”
Fiona Harvey, Area Fundraiser (South of Scotland) for the MS Society Scotland, said: “We are in awe of Phil’s determination and Olympic efforts. Living with MS can sometimes turn simple actions like walking to the shops into an unimaginable challenge yet people with MS have the same aspirations as anyone else and want to live an active and full life despite their condition.
“With the help of Phil, Fergus and all their kind sponsors we are able to give hope to the 10,500 people with MS in Scotland.”
The record attempt took place at Aegon’s Edinburgh office, where both men work.
Both men have been t-total for the past 3 months in preparation.
A large supply of iced water, bananas and jelly beans was on hand to get them through the 100km.