An Arbroath taxi driver, masters internationalist and squash professional has beaten the world record for playing continuous matches.
Over the weekend Mark James (48), from Montrose, played 78 matches in the course of 22 hours, beating the previous total of 69 matches played over 32 hours.
Mark took on this marathon challenge to raise money for the charity Nyumbani Scotland. Set up by Rotarians, the aim of the organisation is to raise both funds and awareness for HIV+ orphans in Kenya.
He began his challenge at 9pm on Friday, June 19, and played non-stop competitive matches every hour, with only a series of five minute intervals as breaks.
Mark reckons he won a total of 35 of his matches, which is a more than respectable tally, given that the rules of the record attempt meant that he could not play the same opponent twice and therefore was continually facing fresh opposition.
He used his extensive contacts in the world of squash to draw in players from as far afield as the Borders and Aberdeenshire.
Mark told the Herald: “I’d like to thank all the members of the squash clubs who turned up to help me with my record attempt.”
Asked how he was feeling in the aftermath of setting a new record, Mark, who has a background in the Forces, told us: “It was physically draining. I couldn’t walk yesterday (Sunday) and today stairs are out of the question!
“Since my military days, this is the hardest physical challenge I have faced.”
Despite this temporary discomfort, Mark is already planning his next squash-related record attempt. He said: “I have a cunning plan, which I don’t want to say too much about at the moment, but it will involve squash and it will require a full year’s preparation!”
Mark described the public’s response and the level of giving to his charitable efforts as ‘absolutely amazing’ and, with cash still to be counted, he has surpassed his planned target of £5000 for the Nyumbani charity.
At time of going to press, his total stood at over £7000.
Donations can still be made by visiting www.justgiving.com/markjames81066.