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Sports Therapy Support for a World Record Attempt: ‘Running out of time’

Society Member Kristian Weaver, a Lecturer at Edge Hill University, recently found himself providing Sports Therapy support as part of a World Record attempt by athlete Amy Hughes.

Amy was raising funds for The 53 Foundation, a charity set up to raise awareness and create opportunities for people with disabilities. Many of you may have followed her 521 mile journey on Twitter and we caught up with Kristian to find out a little more about this amazing challenge.

What was the World Record attempt and who was involved?

After talking with Amy Hughes (@53Marathons), a distance runner with an appetite for challenges, I was amazed by the epic challenge that she wanted to undertake; a World Record for the distance travelled on a treadmill in 7 days. The previous record was an impressive 517.63 miles and, in order to achieve a new World Record, Amy planned to run the equivalent of three marathons per day. From talking to Amy it was evident that she was extremely determined and, having completed 53 marathons in 53 days in 2014, she had now set her sights on an even more challenging task.

What support did you provide?

There was a team around Amy which I was a part of. On the third and fourth day of the challenge, assistance was also provided by fellow Sports Therapist and Society Member Richard Luddington (@FASTclinic). Student Sports Therapists from Edge Hill University came to assist on two days of the challenge and were a great support during the short periods of time that were available for Amy to receive treatment.

In order to complete the World Record, Amy had approximately three hours sleep per night, so even though we could control nutrition (Amy burned 9,000 calories per day), hydration and her general physical condition, we could not account for the sleep deprivation and the psychological demands of such a fatiguing event.

Between 5am and 8am I would arrive at the Trafford Centre Manchester, and prepare Amy for the day of running (although she had typically already been running on the treadmill since 3am). During the preparation I would monitor her weight, changes in lower limb ranges of motion and lower limb girth measurements. After monitoring her I would treat any injuries, manage the inevitable blisters and ensure that she had eaten her breakfast and any supplementation in order to meet the calorific expenditure. Once she was prepared I would talk to Amy to motivate her or leave her to concentrate…all dependent upon her mind-set at the time. Following the morning preparation, I attended Edge Hill University for my lecturing role and returned in the evening at 6-9pm to provide any other treatment and review her nutritional and fluid intake throughout the day.

So, did Amy break the World Record?

Yes! An hour before the end of the challenge Amy had beaten the original record celebrating among cheerleaders and confetti, surrounded by her friends, family and both local and national media. Unfortunately, as soon as the record was broken, she was back running as there was an hour left to set a new World Record. In the end Amy managed to run 521 miles in 7 days, a truly fantastic achievement.

What is next for you?

I will be welcoming new students to Edge Hill University on the Sports Therapy degree programme this September while continuing to support athletes who are achieving amazing things…I will keep you updated!

You can read more about Amy and her amazing feat at http://amyhughes53.co.uk/

Kristian Weaver @kristianweaver_ www.kwsportsperformance.com

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