Burpee World Record Holder Reflects On Experience

Cameron Dorn set the new world record for completing the most burpees in 24 hours on May 17, 2014. HooplaHa featured Cameron while he was preparing to break the record. Aside from now being the new record holder, he also raised over $10,000 dollars to assist his local high school and a school in Peru. Cameron writes about his experience throughout the challenge.

I would first like to make it clear that the world record attempt originated as a fundraiser, not an attempt to gain attention for myself. In recent years, I have spent about 25 percent of my year outside of the country, always exploring and meeting the nicest of people. I always make sure I build in time to volunteer along the way, as I am believer in doing everything for a purpose. Coming from a small town, I always say "small town does not mean small opportunity." I might be 25 years old, but I have enough stories for someone 3x my age -- I run my own business, have won multiple national championships, traveled all over the world, and have degrees from multiple continents. This comes from working hard and pursuing your goals, no matter how large it might be.

I returned to my home of Waterloo, South Carolina (population 203) after my last trip around the world to help write workouts for the Ware Shoals High School cross country team. Ware Shoals was founded in 1926, but a cross country program wasn't established until 2013. I graduated from Ware Shoals in 2006 and was the captain of both the football and basketball team. I've been fond of the town ever since. However, the school is the lowest funded district in the state with less than $5,000 per year allotted to each child. I then realized the team did not have the adequate footwear to safely run the desired workouts each day. I promised the coach after seeing the kids for the first time that I would find a way to put the proper footwear on their feet, and thus the wheels started turning on this fundraiser.

This led me to look up what the world record was for the hardest exercise known to man -- the burpee. I have been participating in endurance sports since I was 19 and always maintained muscle mass since my football days so this challenge was the perfect fit. The original 24-hour record was 7,684 burpees. I wanted to raise $10,000 for Ware Shoals High and a school in Peru which I will be volunteering at on my upcoming high alpine climbing trip this July. 10,000 for $10,000 sounded like a good idea. Shattering the world record by 25% could not be that hard, could it? It was pretty much like Babe Ruth pointing to center field and hitting the home run over the top -- It was a bold call, but that's how is live. I knew it could be done.

The fundraiser had three months to reach $10,000 and I had three months to get into shape to break the record. One thing I say often is "if you have a strong enough why, you will find your how." Leading up to the challenge, I completed many tough workouts, including an epic 5x Murph workout (1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats). My body has always been strong, but my mind is stronger.

The day of challenge came and I checked the online donations page one hour before the start. The donations had reached $10,000. The community had done their part. Now it was time for me to do mine.

I completed 810 burpees in the first hour and maintained a heart rate which I could manage all day. I had to stay in control of nutrition and hydration or my body would shut down -- I would burn over 40,000 calories on this attempt.

The support of the town and viewers online was truly unbelievable. People tuned in from every continent on YouTube and even through the depths of night, there were supporters cheering me on. I went through some very dark spots after completing 2,800 burpees. After breaking the 12-hour record in 8 hours in 17 minutes, my body started to ache. I took a lengthy break and was able to digest some solid food to ensure my energy stores were brought back to as normal as possible.

After breaking the 7,684 mark it was a completely mental. A friend of mine named Roy Lemmons literally took over the thinking for me and demanded, in militaristic fashion, how many burpees I would do for each set. My mind was mush, my knuckles and hands had no skin left, and I was down 12 pounds from my start weight. The drive was still inside -- there was no way that I was going to let everyone including myself down by only doing 9,000 burpees. The darkest moment came when my left eyeball became stuck looking out to the side when my sodium level dropped so much the hydration in my eyes were depleted. Talk about dry eyes! I then drank half a jar of pickle juice and after about ten minutes I returned to normal, thank goodness.

It was smooth sailing after that. Knocking out sets of 20 and 25 burpees at a time, Rocky 4 was on the TV and there was absolutely no way I would be denied the 10,000 burpee mark. I completed a set of 50 to break the 10,000 mark and then 100 more to finish off the day with 10,105. The crowd was deafening. The kid marking the number on the chalkboard literally received blisters from making marks and the atmosphere was so intense that during the last 1,000 burpees, you just knew the first EVER Guinness World record for athletics was about to broken -- along with the 12-hour record from earlier.

Thank you all to who donated and helped the Suitcase of Courage support my alma mater as well as the school I will be visiting in Peru on my way to climbing high in the La Cordillera Blanca over the next three months.

To see Cameron breaking the world record, click here!

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