A weekend in late February saw 35 year old Mike Buss, former member of The Royal Green Jackets who began his army career aged 16 at the Territorial Army centre in Swindon, break five world records in his continuing bid to fundraise for Help for Heroes.
The new world records which took place at Swindon Designer Outlet were witnessed by Lance Corporal Matt Croucher (Green Beret – Royal Marines), holder of the George Cross medal for gallantry, Corporal John Raymond and his colleague Craftsman Ricky Mehew of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME) attached to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers based at Tidworth, Wiltshire.
Almost £3,000 was raised for Help for Heroes to support Britain’s wounded troops and Mike’s extreme challenges were video recorded and await verification from the world record books. They are:
1. Multi-stage fitness test carrying a 40lb backpack – New World Record = Level 9
2. Multi-stage fitness test wearing a full Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare suit and respirator carrying a 40lb backpack – New World Record = Level 4.6
3. Multi-stage fitness test carrying a 120lb backpack – New World Record = Level 4.3
4. Most step-ups in an hour carrying a 120lb (8 stone) backpack wearing army boots and camouflage trousers – New World Record = 839 steps
5. Most step-ups in an hour wearing a full Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare suit and respirator carrying a 40lb backpack – New World Record = 1,035
The hardest world record to set was doing steps-ups for an hour carrying the 40lb backpack whilst wearing a full Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare suit, because the respirator restricted Mike’s oxygen intake by 60%. The suit is completely airtight and Mike says ‘After the world record was set the first time, several people have tried and failed. The last time it was attempted the guy collapsed and needed full CPR treatment to revive him. After ten minutes I was soaking wet from sweat. It was like being in a sauna on overdrive for an hour!’
While he was doing the step-ups wearing the NBC warfare suit with respirator, AM Medical Services were constantly checking Mike over for eye dilation and responses to visual prompts throughout the hour.
Whilst the weekend event at Swindon Designer Outlet created a relaxed, almost party atmosphere at times, there is a serious side to what Mike Buss is doing. Mike has a Masters Degree in sports exercise science and specialised in sports nutrition. He is already at an ongoing level of peak fitness and says ‘I’m so used to doing these endurance events that I’ve gained ability to be able to take on extreme challenges.’
You can still donate to the cause through www.justgiving.com/mikes-worldrecords
Mike wants to relay a solemn warning to members of the public saying ‘These challenges should not be attempted by anyone who has never served in the army and no-one should undertake these world records without full paramedic supervision. You really should not ‘try this at home’ as the risks are too high if you don’t know what you’re doing!’
The five world record attempts were the centrepiece of a free live music, dance and performance festival in support of Help for Heroes which was coordinated and sponsored by Blue Click PR Ltd, The Best of Swindon and the Swindon Designer Outlet. Bands taking part included a string quartet with vocalist named Buzwell and seasoned musician 12 year old Theo Altieri. The Bluebelles Majorettes performed outside in the sunshine and welcomed shoppers with their disciplined military beat, whilst the high-energy street dancing from the Hot Steppers also entertained the crowd indoors. Lance Corporal Matt Croucher was there to sign copies of his book ‘Bullet Proof’, written after he survived throwing himself on an armed hand grenade to protect three fellow soldiers on patrol.
Nick Williams, marketing manager of Swindon Designer Outlet, said: ‘Breaking five world records in one weekend is an incredible achievement and we’re thrilled with the level of support we’ve had from our shoppers who gave generously to Help the Heroes over the weekend.’ Mike Buss said ‘The atmosphere was brilliant and I so appreciated the crowd clapping to support my efforts. When the weight of the backpack hurts my back, hips and shoulders, I keep thinking how important it is to raise the money. I just imagine I’m out there with the boys on the front line. Doing it all for them keeps me focussed.’
Mike is looking forward to the next Brighton Marathon on April 18 carrying 40lb pack for 26 miles and wearing a full NBC suit with respirator. The next day he runs 57 miles to London in normal fitness gear and the following Sunday he will run the London marathon in a full NBC suit with respirator carrying a 120lb back pack.