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Student seeks world record

When University student Tom Forbrizzio decided to beat the Guinness World Record for the World’s Fittest Man, his heart never strayed from his one sole purpose.

In 23 hours and 53 minutes Forbrizzio could taste the satisfaction of reaching his ultimate goal — breaking the record in hopes to raise awareness for the Roan Gouws Memorial Fund.

Gouws, a former student and rugby team member, was robbed and killed in his native land, South Africa last January. On his fatal day he was robbed, shot twice, had two emergency surgeries, and had no insurance. His family was forced to foot the hospital bills and funeral costs — and now with the help of the determined and dedicated, they may be able to have a little more peace.

Little by little members of the rugby team are saving money to send to Gouws family. They set up the fund when teammates began pitching in five dollars at practices and were holding benefit concerts.

Forbrizzio said he had been thinking about trying to beat the fittest man record for quite some time — until he finally found a reason to push for it.

“It was a terrible feeling, I felt so helpless,” Forbrizzio said. “So many people knew about him [Gouws], that now it’s not even about money as much, it’s a way to honor him.”

Gathering local support and contributions, Forbrizzio was inspired to make things happen and move the fund along.

Only one week after Gouws was killed, Forbrizzio worked out eight hours straight to test the waters of his stamina.

“I wanted to gauge if I could even do this,” he said. “I had mental workout day to find some crazy workout to beat me up physically but mentally only makes you stronger.”

One of his answers for a mental workout — getting dropped off somewhere, anywhere, and running with a bag of salt over his shoulder.

“It is less about fitness and more about having the heart to finish,” Forbrizzio said before he began his unwavering journey.

Documenting everything that took place, making sure he followed the many processes, Forbrizzio completed his goal at the rugby field during the MAC rugby championship.

His tenacity pushed him through the night and adrenaline pushed him the rest of the way.

Cycling over a hundred miles, running, ab-crunching over 3,000 times, over 1,100 push-ups and jumping jacks, are only a few items Fobrizzio checked off his 24-hour agenda.

The record has been held by ultra-endurance power athlete, renowned fitness trainer, and syndicated columnist — Joe Decker.

Still, Forbrizzio has hope that his name will hold the title after everything is approved.

“The last four hours, my adrenaline was so high, I knew I could make it,” he said. Actually, once he decided he was going to attempt the Guinness record, he said he knew it was done.

Friend and supporter, Chris Uhle helped push Forbrizzio until the end.

“It was really amazing to watch him. You knew right away he was going to do it,” Uhle said. “He was completely motivated through the whole thing.”

And now time will only tell.

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