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Do you know that saying, 'glutton for punishment'? Well, Craig Peters is the definition of that phrase.
Craig, known as the Burpee Guy, spent last year performing 67,527 burpees; this year he plans to do over 100,000. If you're currently shouting 'why?' at your screen, then you'll be pleased to know that it's all for a good cause. Last year he raised almost £17,000 to help provide life saving equipment for St George's Hospital, Tooting; this year he wants to raise even more.
Craig decided he wanted to begin a fundraising challenge back in 2014. While his wife, Kyrie, was carrying their identical twin boys, the couple were given the scary news that the babies had twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), which occurs in around 10 percent of all multiple pregnancies.
TTTS affects only identical or monozygotic twins who develop from the splitting of a single egg during the first 14 days after fertilisation, and who also share a placenta - monochorionic twins. The placenta has a web of blood vessels connecting the twins with the mother and usually they allow an even flow of blood and nutrients to each of the embryos.
However, in a TTTS pregnancy, the flow of blood in these vessels between the twins is out of balance, resulting in one twin getting too much blood; this can put a strain on the heart and lead to heart failure; the other receives too little, which can affect their growth and survival.
Craig's boys. Credit: Craig Peters
As a result, Craig and Kyrie's twins had to undergo emergency laser surgery. Without this there was a 90 percent chance they would lose both boys. Even with the surgery there was still a one in three chance both would survive, a one in three chance they would lose one and a one in three chance that they would lose both.
Happily, both survived and are now happy and healthy boys.
The laser technique used on the twins was developed by the specialists at St George's and Craig wants to ensure that more families have access to this, so he began thinking about a way he could raise funds.
Credit: Craig Peters
He told TheLADbible: "I wanted to do something different, that would stick in people's minds. The idea for burpees actually came from a joke a friend made. I'd recently joined a boot camp in the park, and as anyone will tell you, burpees are the worst. So, it seemed like the obvious choice!
"People assume it will be really time consuming, too, but even when I was doing 300 plus a day, it was only taking about half an hour. I mainly do them in the evening now, because the mornings can be a rush trying to get the kids ready for school, and I like to know I've eaten properly beforehand, too.
Craig documented his journey across social media and pretty soon it picked up a massive amount of interest. "I think it was around day 100 when the press started to get interested in what I was doing and from there it just snowballed. I ended up doing interviews with Reebok and national press and I also got loads of feedback from ordinary people saying I'd inspired them, which was amazing."
The big question for me here, and one I couldn't wait to ask Craig, was 'if you did 67,527 burpees in 2016, why on Earth would you want to do 104,884 this year?'
Craig tells me: "Well, I wanted to build on what I'd achieved last year. I managed to raise a lot of money for a really good cause and one that is very close to my heart, but aside from that I was sent lots of messages from people who said they would be doing their own 365 Day Challenge for charity and I wanted to be a part of that with them.
"So, I thought 'what can I do that's different from last year?' and I decided that I would do 2017 burpees per week for 2017, making a total of 104,884.
Disco wig burpees. Credit: Craig Peters
"I'm also planning on making a Guinness World Record Attempt. I tried to do the most burpees in 24 hours last year, which is currently 10,110, but I got to around 6,000 and had to stop because I was exhausted. I'm going to learn from my mistakes and give it another shot this year; I've had more practice now and I know where I went wrong last time, so I think I've got a good chance."
If you think doing 2017 burpees a week would leave you in need of a hospital bed, or body bag, Craig has some encouraging news: "I've not had any injuries, in fact, I used to suffer with back pain but since doing them it's gone. I think part of it is making an effort to stretch more. Generally, I feel healthier and fitter.
But there is a caveat to that: "It's not about jumping in at the deep end and doing something extreme. The good thing about these 365 Day Challenges is that you can start slow. If this time last year you had told me I'd be doing 2017 burpees a week I'd have laughed in your face, but by starting with one and building on it I've managed it and some can anyone, really."
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