Kenilworth man hula-hoops his way to world record

Tom Holbrook with his hula hoop
Tom Holbrook with his hula hoop

A Kenilworth man has broken the world record for hula-hooping at high altitude after scaling a volcano in Peru.

Tom Holbrook, 28, hula-hooped for 40 seconds at over 6,000m above sea level after he and his team climbed through the night to the summit of the Chachani volcano in the Andes mountain range near Arequipa, Peru’s second city.

The team on top of the Chachani volcano

The team on top of the Chachani volcano

In doing so, he and the team broke the world record which had stood at 5,895m after another team hula-hooped atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

As well as breaking the record, Mr Holbrook and his team raised over $11,000 for charity Helping Overcome Obstacles Peru (HOOP).

He said: “It was an amazing feeling when we made it to the top. The conditions for hula-hooping were perfect – clear skies and almost no wind.

“At one point I wasn’t sure if I would make it. Many of us were suffering from the effects of altitude – headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, and dizziness. But we all tried to encourage each other to keep going.

It was an amazing feeling when we made it to the top.

Tom Holbrook

“I still really can’t believe we did it.”

The 18-strong team, made up of Peruvian and international charity workers from nine different countries, trained every week to prepare for the challenge the ascent presented.

Training consisted of everything from coping with the effects of altitude sickness to perfecting their hula-hooping technique. Fully prepared, the team set off on December 6 to climb the volcano.

After a few hours’ rest at base camp, they resumed their climb and reached the summit at 7am on December 7, although only 14 of the team made it to the top.

To claim the record, the team had to hula-hoop at the summit for at least 30 seconds, which the 14 that made it to the summit all managed to do, and the record attempt is currently being verified by Guinness World Records.

HOOP aims to break the cycle of poverty in Arequipa through education, health and social programs.

Its main activities centre around a free after-school program, which teaches English, art, sports, homework help, science and other activities for 100 children and their families.

The charity operates with the help of 20 volunteers from Peru and all over the world.

The team had an initial fundraising goal of $10,000, but surpassed the goal three weeks before the world record attempt.

Tom added: “Climbing Chachani was a huge physical and mental challenge for the team, and I was very impressed by everyone’s strength and commitment.

“It was amazing to see the generosity of people around the world in supporting this great achievement. With their help, we surpassed our ambitious fundraising goal, with all the money raised helping us have a real impact on the lives of children and their families in the community.”

Anyone wishing to donate to HOOP can do so by visiting the website www.hoopperu.org/hulahoop.

All the money raised will go towards school rental, schoolbooks and supplies, teacher training, a new maths program, and a new social work program, which is being offered by HOOP to improve the wellbeing of families in the community.