My goals were to break the world record for Most Chin Ups In 24 Hours (which stood at 5,094 reps at the time!) and to raise £80,000 in memory of my late brother, Garai Makaya.
The chin-ups world record attempt took place from 25th-26th September 2020 at Bodystreet Milton Keynes. I completed 5,340 chin-ups within 24 hours, breaking the world record by 246 reps!
You can get more insight into the world record attempt in my ITV News interview (also shown on the video link above) which was filmed during the world record attempt, or by reading my more detailed event report (which also has a video blog outlining my 4-year journey to breaking the chin-ups world record).
WHY AM I RAISING FUNDS?
My goal is to establish a charitable foundation in memory of my late brother, the skydiver Garai Makaya, and I want to raise at least £80,000 for the foundation. I also want to make a documentary film about Garai and the skydiving community which he founded in Botswana. All the profits from the documentary film will be used to directly support the planned Garai Makaya foundation and its charitable causes in Southern Africa. In order to attain these ambitious goals, I committed myself to completing a series of extreme endurance world record challenges to raise funds for the charitable foundation.
The 24 hour chin-ups world record attempt was the 3rd event in this series of world record challenges. The 1st challenge in the series started on 24th June 2018, when I rode my ElliptiGO elliptical bike twice across Britain, from Land's End to John o'Groats & back again, covering 240km (or 150-miles) every day. I eventually completed the full distance of 2,768km (or 1,720-miles) in a new Guinness world record time of 11 days, 10 hours & 31 minutes. You can find out more about that world record ride by reading my event report on this link or by watching the BBC interviews shown below:
Video 1 - BBC Interview Before My World Record Ride:
Video 2 - BBC Interview After My World Record Ride:
The 2nd endurance challenge in my world record series took place on 16th November 2019 (Garai's birthday) when I attempted to break the world record for the most pull-ups completed within 24 hours. Sadly, a shoulder injury forced me to pull out halfway through the world record attempt (after completing 3,856 pull-ups in 12 hours) and I was left unable to do even a single pull-up for months after the shoulder injury.
To rehabilitate my shoulder and to rebuild my upper body fitness I then started doing chin-ups (reversed-grip pull-ups). Chin-ups didn't affect my shoulder injury as much as pull-ups did, so from January 2020 I gradually built up my chin-ups fitness. Months after the world record attempt I was still unable to do many pull-ups, but I could do over a thousand chin-ups and I realised I might have a realistic chance at challenging the chin-ups world record and keeping my fundraising challenge alive. So that's what I set out to do!
I headed into the chin-ups world record attempt stronger & fitter than I've ever been before and I honoured my brother Garai's memory by breaking the 24 hour chin-ups world record! But we still haven't raised the full £80,000 target, so please support my efforts by sharing this page widely, or by making a contribution to the fundraising, or by ordering one (or both) of my new books. My new books outline different parts of my journey towards breaking the world records outlined on this fundraising page and the financial proceeds from both books will be fully dedicated to the Garai Makaya charitable foundation.
WHAT INSPIRED THIS PROJECT?
On the 11th February 2017 Garai Makaya passed away in a skydiving accident, in South Africa. Garai had been a pioneer and innovator in the skydiving & adventure tourism sector in Botswana, touching many lives by making what many considered to be an extreme sport more accessible and more relevant to everyday people.
Garai was a very simple and yet remarkably unique individual who brought warmth & inspiration to the lives of everyone who knew him. He established skydiving as an official sport in Botswana (recognised by the Botswana Sports Council & supported by the Botswana Ministry of Tourism) and he was committed to building an enduring skydiving & adventure tourism movement in Botswana.
As depicted in the photo below (with His Excellency President Ian Khama, the President of Botswana at the time) Garai was able to reach and engage with people of all ages, backgrounds & careers - and he was able to get them to take an active interest in the things he was passionate about (which mainly covered supporting charities, skydiving, movies, coffee, craft beer & burgers)!
An archive of professional film footage of Garai's skydiving adventures came into my possession shortly after he died and we (his family & friends )are keen to see that this material is used to support the production of a high quality documentary film about his life as a skydiver, told by the people whose lives he has touched through skydiving.
Garai was very keen to support charitable projects through his skydiving activities and knowing that he'd never accept a fundraising project of this scale being carried out in his name, if it wasn't aimed at supporting the disadvantaged in society, we want to respect those values by dedicating the financial proceeds of the documentary film towards the charitable foundation which is being set up in Garai's memory, to support deserving causes in Southern Africa.
And why make a documentary film, when there are so many other ways we could pay tribute to the life & legacy of a guy like Garai? The main reason is because Garai was such a big motion-picture fan & enthusiast. And because of the large volume of professionally filmed material he'd gathered, it makes sense to see that the material is put to good use.
Using the medium of a motion-picture to summarise his life and to support a charitable project is something which I think Garai himself would have thought was very cool! For me, it comes down to remembering a very special person in a way which I think he’d like to be remembered. And it also comes down to making a real difference, which is something I know Garai would have valued above all else.
During his lifetime Garai never gave up on any of his important goals and in that same spirit I will work on my fundraising goals, £1 at a time. As Garai's brother, I feel compelled to use whatever skills and connections I have to contribute towards the realisation of this goal, which is why I have dedicated the biggest and toughest fitness challenges of my entire life towards the fundraising effort required to make this vision a reality.
I will continue to fight on until I have achieved all my goals and seen this project through to fruition. Until then, you can continue to follow my progress on this fundraising page and on my personal blog. Those of you who never got to meet Garai in person, but would like to know a little more about him, can read an article about the last 10 years of his life as a skydiver, here.
Thank you for reading this message and thanks to all of you who have believed in me (and believed in Garai's story) by choosing to support this project.