Matt Wolstenholme, from north London, established the benchmark for ‘longest distance juggling a football’ by keeping the ball in the air without using his hands for 20 kilometres – 50 laps around the athletics track at Harrow School.
The unique feat took just under five hours with the ball in constant motion. Matt touched the ball an estimated 36,000 times.
The 30-year-old has practised his football skills since childhood, but in his early 20s he was struck down with a mystery back condition which left him in chronic pain and barely able to walk.
Despite seeing several doctors and consultants, he never received a definitive diagnosis.
Arsenal fan Matt says: “I’m chuffed to bits with the record. It’s amazing to be able to call myself a world record holder.
“It was a tough challenge, I was out there for five hours in the wind and rain and I didn’t eat or drink anything. And obviously I couldn’t just pop to the loo!
“Most of the time I simply kicked the ball from foot to foot, but there were a couple of hairy moments around the bends and every once in a while I had to use my knees to control the ball. Everything was aching by the end, but it was worth it.
“When my back was bad a trip to the kitchen for a cup of tea was a big journey, so I would never have envisaged doing something like this.”
After an epidural injection into his spine, Matt regained full mobility through a strict exercise regime, which inspired him to become a personal trainer. He has also worked as a sports coach at spinal injury charity Aspire.
He says: “I understand from personal experience how important exercise is. It’s brilliant making a living doing something you are passionate about.”
Matt set his keepy-uppy benchmark on August 30, but had a nervous wait before Guinness World Record issued official confirmation today (Wednesday)
During the attempt, Matt brought attention to a cause close to his heart by wearing a Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) campaign logo.
“Many people with disabilities are facing tough welfare cuts and I wanted to show solidarity with them and support their cause.”