Two Blackpool brothers-in-law receive Guinness World Record awards for marathon van pull

Two strongmen from Blackpool have been awarded the ‘Farthest distance pulling a vehicle in 24 hours’ by the Guinness Book of World Records, and are looking to beat it again.

John (left) and James (right) with their Guinness Book of World Records certificates
John (left) and James (right) with their Guinness Book of World Records certificates

Brothers-in-law James Baker, 35, and John Darwen, 30, each managed to pull a 1.5 tonne van on their backs around the running track at Stanley Park in October, as part of a 24 fundraising campaign. The pair have developed a strong bond and have trained and supported each other since John was diagnosed with Leukaemia 13 years ago.

The pair each pulled their own individual vehicle an equal number of laps around the same track. They decided on the idea together of attempting this record back in 2019 when the record currently only stood at 3.37 km (2.1 miles). When the record had been broken and updated to 33.93 km (21.08 miles) , they knuckled down and began to plan out their training in more detail.

James labelled the record breaking attempt in October as a “practice” and says he and John will be looking to smash the record again in Mid to Late 2022, while also looking to set new records for the history books. The pair are still looking for a large enough venue to hold their next run.

John Darwen with his van

“We set ourselves a target that we would make this a marathon vehicle pull,” said James. “So what we did in October was we equalled the current record, and then took it a mile further, and that was to make sure that we could do it. So our aim now is to pull it as far as we possibly can, so it is going to be a little more competitive this time between John and I.

“We hope to make it a day where we can have a number of different world records that we can break as well. For example, there is no record for the time it would take to pull a vehicle for five miles, ten miles, or a half marathon distance. It is quite difficult to find a flat place to do the attempt, that is large enough and hard standing. We have asked quite a lot of different places but unfortunately they are either not available when we need them to be or they are not able to let us use them.”

James and John helped to raise over £2,000 to support the charitable work of Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) in Blackpool while performing the pull. The funds have gone to the ROC’s latest project, the ‘ROC Garden’ which is helping to empower unemployed people back into employment, and to support residents in need of garden transformations in some of the most deprived areas in the North West of England.

Check out James and John’s official place in the Guinness World Records here. And to give to their JustGiving page, click here.

James attempting to break the record in October