Paddy Doyle took his extraordinary career on to the next level as he set his 200th career strength, fitness and endurance record on Valentine’s Day, having set out on his way with his first record back in May 1987. This time it was a gruelling 26 mile backpack walk across the Warwickshire countryside and along the Grand Union Canal – all laden down with 60 lbs of weights – with a rousing ‘stop-the-traffic’ conclusion coming after 7 hours 51 minutes at the offices of the Leamington Courier in Royal Leamington Spa’s town centre.
As always Paddy’s challenge was not without difficulties – heavy rain the previous day made for boggy, treacherous and energy sapping conditions on the early sections of the course – with Paddy going over on his ankle on a difficult slope and injuring his knee in the process. The mental and physical drain on Paddy, exacerbated by injury, slowed him to a crawl at the final checkpoint at Hatton Locks by the Waterman Arms. At this stage Paddy was taking regualr stops and relying heavily on his support team, whilst they dragged him back from exhaustion with a constant stream of energy bars, liquids and those all important words of encouragement to keep going.
With the help of a growing number of followers along the route and a slightly extended energy break with around 3 miles to go Paddy found an extraordinary new lease of life and stormed his way into Leamington and through town to the finish.
“I never thought I’d do it” said Paddy in disbelief, reflecting on his remarkable 200 career records stretching back to 1987. “Once again my support team have been vital to my achieving my record, helping me maintain my focus at key moments along the route. The organisation and communication played a big part and I also want to thank everybody who came out in support today. I really appreciate it.”
Paddy was also joined along the closing stages of the route by good friends from his former paratroop regiment, support for which he was really appreciative.
“It’s been really good of everybody to turn out today, they’ve travelled a long way to be here from places like Colchester and Liverpool, so I really appreciate it”.
As well as marking out a special milestione this record also took Paddy one step closer to breaking the calendar year record of 29 strength fitness and endurance records held by the UK’s Paul Woodlands. Paddy has until 31st July to eclipse the record.