Hicksons line up a record weekend
BETWEEN playing football, running marathons, and chasing sheep, the Hickson family from Luachar, Annascaul, grew up to be a fit bunch. And just how fit they are will be tested this weekend when three of them attempt to set five Guinness World Records.
The action gets underway on this Friday morning, May 18, when Eamonn, who is already a double Guinness World Record holder, attempts to break the record of 20 chest-to-ground ‘burpees’ in a minute. This effort will be done live on ‘Kerry’s Full Breakfast’ show on Radio Kerry – where Eamonn works as a journalist and producer - so people will be able to tune in and will him on.
Later the same morning at An Riocht athletics grounds in Castleisland, Eamonn’s brother Jason, who is a full time farmer, will begin his attempt to set a record for the farthest ‘farmer’s carry’ of 100lb in 24 hours. With the help of a friend and O’Sullivan Engineering in Lios Póil, Jason has divided the 100lb weight into two 50lb tubes and he will have to carry one in each hand for a distance of at least 50km to achieve the world record.
On Friday evening, also at An Ríocht, the lads’ sister, Sandra, will be tied up with her attempt to set a world women’s record for running a mile in less than eight minutes - while wearing handcuffs.
The record-breaking efforts are set to continue on Saturday evening in the WK Fitness gym in Dingle where Eamonn will attempt to do over 18 burpee pull-ups in one minute. After a good night’s sleep Eamonn will be back in WK Fitness on Sunday afternoon, attempting to beat the world record of 200 burpee pull-ups in an hour.
The Hicksons have a record of setting records. In 2014 Eamonn got into the Guinness Book of World Records by reversing a tractor 17.3km from Dingle to Annascaul. That he did this on an August Bank Holiday weekend probably deserved another award, but in fact his second record came in 2016 from the entirely different endeavour of doing the most squats in a minute while carrying a 40lb pack.
The three siblings are hugely motivated for their record weekend, but they draw their inspiration from a mixed bag.
Eamon (aged 31), a former All-Ireland under-21 and junior football medal winner, was laid low by a severe back problem just a year ago. “Following surgery, I was determined to get back to a place where I felt fit, healthy and strong and the idea to set a number of Guinness World Records seemed like the perfect goal,” he says.
He also hopes to inspire others: “I think if people see the place I’ve come from in terms of fitness and mobility over the past twelve months, it’ll give them confidence to achieve their own milestone, regardless of their current situation,” he says.
Sandra (38), who is a psychiatric nurse based
in Cork, won a bronze medal for the shotput in last year’s Masters National Championships but her real sports interest is in marathon running.
“I see the challenge of setting a Guinness World Record as something to take me out my comfort zone... I want to inspire others to set their own goals, whether it be in terms of their fitness, career or relationships - and achieve them. With self-belief, a positive attitude and a good work ethic, anything is possible,” she says.
Meanwhile, Jason (26) says that he and his siblings are young and fit and, if they’re ever going to set records, now is the time. But that’s only the start of it.
Along with his brother and five sisters, Jason grew up immersed in sport, and football in particular. They also helped their father, Patrick, on the farm and he reckons chasing sheep up and down hills and over ditches did wonders for their fitness levels.
Jason, now runs the family farm of 50 cows, but he has long been niggled by his father, Patrick’s persistent comment: “You don’t know how soft you have it”. Jason reckons that hauling 100lb for over 50km should be a pretty powerful demonstration that he isn’t soft but he agrees that his father has a point. Young people of his age are. in fact, pretty soft these days and Jason isn’t impressed with them.
“I find people from 30 down have gone very soft. I see people of my age and if anything is any bit hard they’re crying and moaning about it,” he says.
He doesn’t have much sympathy for the ‘snowflake generation’ and believes that, “before they start looking for help from others they should get their own shit together.”
He hopes to provide a little inspiration for his peers in that regard. “I want to see how far I can push myself physically and mentally, so if a day comes when something really bad happens, I won’t fall apart.”
Sandra, Eamonn and Jason Hickson from Annascaul who are planning a weekend for the record books.