Siblings Eamonn, Jason and Sandra Hickson from Kerry, Ireland, love breaking records.
Eamonn caught the record-breaking bug first, but all three of them now hold a whole load of sports and fitness records, including the fastest 100m crawling (55.40 seconds by Eamonn), most rugby conversions in one minute (12 by Jason) and most lunges in one minute - female (80 by Sandra).
And it's not just his siblings that Eamonn has inspired to get into record-breaking - he often gets their friends involved too!
This year, he got together with a bunch of his mates and broke records to celebrate St. Patrick's Day - with Eamonn donning a festive leprechaun outfit for the occasion.
These records were:
- Most plyometric burpees in one minute (male) - 7, achieved by Eammon Hickson
- Fastest time to lunge 20 metres - 14.11 seconds, achieved by Daniel Farrell
- Most backward lunges in 30 seconds - 34, achieved by Fintan Herlihy
- Most rugby passes in one hour by a pair - 2,608, achieved by Shane Scanlon and James Crean
After their exhausting, record-breaking day, we're sure Eamonn, Daniel, Fintan, Shane and James are all having a well earned break!
But how did the Hicksons' obsession with record-breaking start?
We spoke to the siblings about what it's like to break records together, the toughest challenges they've faced so far and how many more records we can expect from the trio.
Why did you decide to start breaking records?
Eammon: I first started attempting to break GWR records in 2014. The plan was to only set one and leave it at that (longest journey reversing a tractor and trailer – 17.3km). However, to give me a goal in my recovery from an ACL knee injury, I targeted the most squats in one minute carrying a 40 lb pack in 2016.
I mentioned it to my siblings numerous times about attempting a record that would suit them, but it was slow catching on! However, in 2018, my constant pestering paid off. Both Sandra and Jason were seeking goals for their respective training and I imagine I had given them an example of what they could aim for.
We don’t even ask each other anymore “do you want to train and target a record” –it’s a given that we each have something in our heads. We also have other siblings who’re interested in targeting their own records in the coming years.
What’s it like breaking records together?
Eamonn: You imagine there would be some rivalry, but there isn’t. It probably comes about because we’ve different physical skills. If we had similar skills, I think there would be more rivalry between us.
It’s a huge buzz breaking records with friends, but nothing beats setting the standard with family. Last December, Sandra even got her partner in on the act. We joke that you’re not allowed into the Hickson family unless you’re of a required standard!
Every Christmas during our childhood, the Guinness Book of Records was read from front to back. We never even considered that we’d set one record in the family, not to mind the number we’ve set so far. To see our names and Sandra’s picture in the 2021 version was a particular highlight, which – incidentally – we think could inspire our nieces and nephews in the future.
After setting 15 @GWR, currently holding 10, the Hickson family has made it into the famous book for 2021.— Eamonn Hickson (@EamonnHickson) October 21, 2020
Never imagined when reading the book every Christmas during our childhoods that we’d ever get our names printed on its hallowed pages. #gwr2021#positivenewspic.twitter.com/FVFU9cO7GF
What is the toughest record you’ve attempted?
Eamonn: The toughest record I’ve attempted was the most squats in one minute carrying a 40 lb pack. I had ACL surgery in late 2014 and set the target then. I was unable to do one bodyweight squat following surgery, so it was a lot of suffering to reach the standard to beat Paddy Doyle’s record of 49.
Thankfully, it all came together on the day and I set 57 in one minute (subsequently broken by Silvio Sabba). I take a lot of pride in that record, knowing the low base I’d to come from and also that a lot of pain and effort had gone into it.
Sandra: The toughest record I attempted was the most lunges in one minute, which I managed to beat with a total of 80. What made it so tough was not the single event on the day but the time and preparation it took to get myself to that standard.
Jason: The farthest distance farmer's carry in 24 hours carrying 100 lb (male). Firstly, it was so difficult to train for due to the required standard and time needed. Secondly, I’d never walked nor run over 50km in one go before, not to mind with 100lbs in weight.
Thirdly, the conditions varied wildly. It was about 25 degrees during the day and went to near freezing overnight. Finally, I’d almost no skin left on the palms of my hands afterwards!
What record has been the most fun to attempt?
Eamonn: Mine has to be the fastest 100m crawling. Despite cutting the time close, I found it a thoroughly enjoyable one to attempt. It gave everyone there a good chuckle. It’s also deceptively hard to crawl 100m!
Jason: The most conversions scored in one minute. This was great fun because I knew I would be able to beat it. The rules were very specific about ball placement – which really helped me as it required quite a degree of fitness and not just kicking technique. I also took great enjoyment from it as I’d never played rugby before and was able to adjust to the oval shape.
Sandra: My most enjoyable event was the fasted mile three legged. My brother, Jason, and I teamed together to complete this event. What made this more enjoyable than any of the other events was that I got to share this with someone else, who happened to be my favourite brother (laughing at Eamonn)! It was also a good laugh with lots of trips and falls as we synchronised our coordination.
Do you each have in mind a number of records you’d like to achieve?
Eamonn: It’s like a dangling carrot. When I had one, I wanted two. When I’d two, I wanted three. I’d love to hit ten Guinness World Records. I even advised a person in Ireland on how to beat my tractor-trailer reverse record. It would be amazing to help make setting Guinness World Records “a thing” that my part of South-West Ireland does.
Jason: I would like to get to ten first, just to tick that off. However, I’d like to keep setting and breaking records for some time to come. It’s like an addiction at this stage.
Sandra: I plan on continuing to set new goals and challenges and I plan to break many more records in the years ahead.
What I really like about GWR is that it gives me a target and a reason to train towards something. I know that if I lack motivation one day and miss a day’s training, that this will have an effect and hinder my progress in achieving my goal.
How does it feel to be Guinness World Records title holders?
Eamonn: It’s amazing. Maybe being a little dramatic here, but I take such pride in knowing that at one stage in my life I was the person who did the most squats in one minute with a 40lb backpack, crawled 100m the fastest and so on. The GWR certificates on the kitchen wall at home are screenshots of those moments.
Jason: It’s very satisfying, considering the work that's put into them. It’s also great to see the personal progression, going from not being able to do many of a certain thing to being able to break a Guinness World Record.
Sandra: I feel very privileged in the fact that I managed to achieve GWRs. There is a record out there for everyone, we just need to find our niche, and I'm so lucky to have found mine with the support of my brothers. Every time I see my record certificates, I feel proud that I managed to achieve something unique that to this point nobody has been able to beat.
They inspire me to challenge more records and I hope that I can inspire other people to challenge themselves, maybe even have a go at beating my records—although I may have to come back and try to beat them if they do.
What advice would you give to other people who want to break records?
Eamonn: Don’t compare yourself to others. I know that’s easier said than done. I’m not the fastest, nor the strongest, nor the fittest, but there are records that suit my body type and athletic ability. Could I solve a number of Rubik cubes in one minute? Do the highest jump out of water? Can I recite various post codes? No to all of those.
So many people have said to me in recent years how a record I set impressed them and how they’d never be able to do it. I always remind them that I pick records that suit me, and their pick will be entirely different. Not all records require burpees or crawling or skipping or kicking.
When you find that thing that suits you, something that you have a chance at breaking, it’s incredible how much hidden motivation and drive that you never thought you had surfaces.
Jason: Don’t underestimate yourself. While you mightn’t be able to set a record now, you might be able in the future. It just requires a little motivation and some hard work. Also, don't go up against the Hicksons because you've no chance ha!
Sandra: If anybody fancied having a shot at my records - or any record for that fact - my number one tip would be to set yourself a realistic and progressive training plan. You need to give yourself ample time to ensure you can consistently break your record in the weeks leading up to the day of the record attempt.