Record-breaking trainer ‘carrying the weight’ for those with testicular cancer

Record-breaking trainer ‘carrying the weight’ for those with testicular cancer
Ben Haldon broke a GWR to raise awareness for men’s mental health (Cal Hibbard/PA)

A personal trainer has become a Guinness World Records (GWR) holder a few months after undergoing surgery to remove a lump from his testicle to help “carry the weight” for those battling testicular cancer.

Ben Haldon became the GWR holder for ‘the furthest distance in 24 hours farmer’s carry 100lb (male)’, travelling 54km, beating the previous record which stood at a little over 50km.

A farmer’s carry involves holding heavy weights while walking for a certain amount of time or distance.

Mr Haldon wanted to take on the record after noticing a lump on his testicle in December 2022, which began to give him a bit of discomfort and pain and prompted him to get a check-up.

Weights on the groundBen Haldon thought about breaking the GWR while in hospital (Cal Hibbard/PA)

Towards the end of January, the 31-year-old underwent surgery on the non-malignant lump and while in hospital, he said be began “toying” with the GWR idea.

“I felt that I wanted to do something for other people because I felt very lucky that my lump was not cancerous,” the Cheshire-based personal trainer, who also does podcasting, told the PA news agency.

“I put my thinking cap on and wanted to do something to carry the weight for other men who are going through testicular cancer and find it hard to speak about, or struggle mentally, and that’s where the idea behind carrying 100lb for 24 hours came from.”

Man with his head in his hands and bending downMr Haldon said that the toughest part of the feat was around the seven-hour mark (Cal Hibbard/PA)

He undertook the feat on July 22 at The Oval Leisure Centre in Bebington, Wirral, which was overseen by 14 witnesses.

Mr Haldon said he experienced emotional and mental fatigue, with the sixth to seventh-hour mark being the “toughest”.

“I had this niggling injury near my bicep and it was just playing up all the time,” he said.

“And it got to that six/seven hour marker and I thought, I’m not going to be able to do this – the pain was around a nine out of 10.

“I remember my wife (Lucy) came over to me and and knew just by the look on my face that I was in a bad place, but I said I’m going to carry on going until my bicep pings off the arm.”

The pain subsided and Mr Haldon said it taught him a valuable lesson about mental health.

“With mental health, in a tough moment, it won’t always be that hard… if you can push through that, it will get better,” he said.

Money raised from the challenge is to go to mental health charity Movember, with Mr Haldon also becoming the UK’s biggest fundraiser for Movember 2023.

He said that being recognised with titles and accolades has been “brilliant”, but he hopes that raising awareness for men’s mental health is something that the campaign achieves as well.

“Obviously that’s difficult to measure,” he said.

“But I got to meet some great people and have amazing conversations along the way.

“I did a walk with someone who works with Movember who does crazy challenges, and two of the world’s strongest men, who struggled with mental health.

“Having all these conversations and meeting all these people along this journey was just such a great thing that I didn’t expect to happen as part of the fundraising.”

Training involved lots of walks with weights, often three to four times a week, and lots of strength work including pull-ups and barbell rows, as well as having a focus on protein when it came to nutrition.

He added that the team at Myprotein has also been a “great” support and connected him with other men in the industry who have struggled with their mental health and want to raise awareness about it.

Man bending down to grab somethingMr Haldon said that training for the challenge was difficult at times (Cal Hibbard/PA)

He said training was mainly “intuitive” because there’s “no real blueprint” for how to prepare your body for a feat like this and a big chunk was also mental.

“You’re going out and spending hours and hours with two handles, on my own, in my own head, with my own thoughts, no screen time, no conversation and in a world that is very fast paced, it is very rare that we spend a lot of time with ourselves,” he said.

“The training was actually harder than the actual day because on the day I had loads of people cheering for me, whereas when I was training I had no support, no claps, no instant gratification.”

For those who have testicular cancer or think they may have it, Mr Haldon said: “Just never ever be embarrassed.

“I think that’s the biggest thing – the embarrassment of it – because I think the only time guys really speak about their private parts is as a bit of banter and there’s never really serious conversations to be had about it, which probably creates a bit of a stigma.

“When I put a post up on Instagram about the day I was going into surgery, I spoke to over 100 guys who messaged me about checking or having gone through testicular cancer and I think it’s powerful how much a conversation can remove a weight from you.”

Mr Haldon’s fundraising link can be found here:

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