A Sunderland strongman is hoping to smash a tough world record - and raise funds for an important charity in the process.
Ryan Myers, an osteopath at the performance clinic based at the University of Sunderland, is part of a team of 12 men and women taking part in a 24-hour push to set a new world record in the deadlift.
The challenge, which got underway at lunch time today, will see the team taking turns to continuously lift weights in an unprecedented effort.
A mixture of ex-marines, personal trainers and fitness fans, they will each be lifting for up to two hours at a time.
The back-breaking effort has been inspired by a desire to help former and current armed forces personnel who are struggling with mental health issues.
Ryan, 35, from Sunderland, has spent 18 years in the Royal Marines; eight in the regular service and 10 in the reserves.
Speaking to her before the challenge, he said: “Every time you turn on the news we hear about young men who are taking their own lives. We wanted to do something which would raise some awareness of this issue.”
Last year, the team set a new world record for deadlifting over 12 hours, but this year they are aiming to go one better – or 12 hours better to be exact – and lift non-stop for 24 hours.
Ryan said: “The problem is not the weight we will be lifting, which is around 60kilos, but rather the time we are lifting it over.
“We have to take into consideration factors like sleeping and eating, as well as recovery time.
“I’m not going to pretend it’s going to be easy but the support we have had has been amazing.”
Ryan, whose clients include University of Sunderland staff and students, travelled down to Pure Gym in East Grinstead, West Sussex.
Along with his fellow lifters, they will be raising money for Royal Marines Association charity and Rock-2-Recovery, which was founded by Jamie Sanderson and Jason Fox, from popular TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins.
The team will be relying on nutrition supplements and coffee during the course of the 24-hours to help power them through.
Concerns have been growing for some time now over the mental health of some veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are struggling to cope after returning from war-zones.
Ryan, originally from Whitby, added: “It’s all about helping support these men, letting them know there is help out there.
“We’re hoping a record attempt like this brings attention to the situation.”