ABU DHABI: Breaking world records may be a habit for Eva Clarke. But when the 36-year-old fitness icon makes her eighth attempt in the capital on March 10, she will be redefining the boundaries of endurance like never before.
In an interview to XPRESS on International Women’s Day Clarke said she hoped to surpass the female Guinness World Record in her attempt to do the maximum number of pull-ups in three categories – one hour, 12 hours and 24 hours - at the central atrium of Al Wahda Mall.
“The current record for 24 hours stands at 3,500 for females. I am hoping to break that,” she said.
But this is just part of the story. Where the record-breaker will count is elsewhere.
A mother of three from Australia, Clarke is undertaking the challenge for a cause close to her heart: underprivileged children, this time in Brazil, where they are being supported by an NGO Task Brasil. “I myself grew up with very little. I had a rough upbringing as my mum was a chronic schizophrenic. There were times when my siblings, one of them handicapped, and I were taken away from her to be raised in foster care. None of us finished school. But I was fortunate I could draw inspiration from some people, including my father, and turn things around,” she said.
Seven world records
Clarke, who earlier worked with the Australian Army and Airforce, took up a Combat Fitness Leader (CFL) course, and began to train both military and civilian personnel. Soon after, she qualified for civil group instruction and personal training. She also developed her own brand and style of fitness called HUA. She established over eight world records in fitness, six of which are Guinness World Records.
But every record-breaking feat has invariably been linked with children’s charity. In 2014, for instance, when she did the most push-ups in 24 hours, with support from Al Wahda Mall and Maria Cristina Foundation, it was for the cause of underprivileged kids in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Last year too, when she broke two Guinness World Records it was to back the World Childhood Cancer Foundation.
She said she was motivated to support Task Brasil as it reached out to orphans, young victims of domestic violence, abandonment and dysfunctional families. The NGO also helps teenage mums and their children to overcome adversity and provides them stability and a new lease of life.
“My message to all children who are in a difficult circumstance is: work hard to get somewhere in life. You may have been born with a bronze spoon, not silver, but it is up to you to turn it into gold. Don’t blame your parents and develop a positive attitude towards life,” said Clarke. The expertspeak is not lost on the young, impressionable minds. Often, they just need the right push at the right time. Recalling a letter from a clutch of children in Brazil, Clarke said: “They actually took the time to write a ‘thank you’ note to me. It touched my heart.”
So when Clarke stuns Al Wahda Mall visitors with her pull-ups this weekend, the idea is to garner more support for such children.
Mohammad Nauman Thakur, general manager, Al Wahda Mall, said, “We are very pleased to have been supporting this noble cause through our cause: health initiative. I also invite mall visitors to support her by cheering for her onsite, and through donations. All proceeds from this fundraiser goes to Task Brasil, where a number of teenage mothers and their babies and families have benefited from the facilities and services provided.”