There are a lot of thoughts that go through Eva Clarke’s mind when she is mid-way through one of the physically gruelling challenges she sets herself.
In 2016, when she was gunning for the Guinness World Record for the most pull-ups in 24 hours for a female, she was thinking about where she has come from, what she has achieved and what wants to achieve.
“It’s a roller coaster of emotions,” the Nelson Bay mother of three and fitness professional said.
“As you go up and down you’re constantly going up and down internally. Every five minutes you’re thinking of something else.”
Ms Clarke did achieve that world record in 2016 with 3737 reps. During that attempt she also broke the record for the most pull ups in an hour for a female with 725 reps and most pull ups in 12 hours for a female with 2740 reps.
It is three of 16 Guinness World Records she has broken.
Currently, Ms Clarke holds 15 records.
I want to inspire people to go out and break their own records.Eva Clarke
Other records include finishing a marathon carrying a 40lb (18kg) back pack the fastest for a female (4hr, 34 min and 42 sec), most burpees in 24 hours for a female (12,003) and most knuckle push ups in one minute for a female (70).
Ms Clarke had always been sports orientated but started her fitness career when she joined the Australian Army in 1998.
She made the switch to the RAAF in 2006 and was based as a physical training instructor at the Williamtown base between 2009 and 2013.
After leaving the ADF she started her own business, HUA Fitness.
Fitness has taken her across the world, and opened doors for her to raise money and awareness for charity.
Realising her strength was endurance, such as being able to complete 1000 push ups, Ms Clarke turned her attention to obtaining world records, fundraising and raising awareness along the way for her selected charities.
Her first attempt was made, and obtained, in 2014 where she aimed to complete the most knuckle push ups in 24 hours (9241 push ups). She also broke the record for most knuckle push ups in an hour (1206 push ups).
“My arms started to go black and my knuckles were torn to shreds,” she said.
“I cried a little, I laughed a lot and I think at midnight my team and I got a little crazy and decided to push through. Everybody kept pushing me. They would get down and do push-ups and it pushed me to keep going.
“Once I hit the target of 7000 I was like, “okay it’s going to be over soon, it’s only 24 hours”.
“That’s when I started thinking of children who are starving, families battling cancer, people suffering through war.
“I said to myself “imagine their pain. If you think that 24 hours of exercise is painful, then imagine how much pain these guys are enduring every day”. I knew my suffering would be over in 24 hours. I had no excuse not to continue.”
Through her world record attempts, Ms Clarke has raised money for charities such as World Childhood Cancer and Task Brazil.
“I’ve raised nearly $80,000 for charity from the challenges I set myself,” Ms Clarke said.
“But it’s more than that. I want to inspire people to go out and break their own records. I want to inspire women to go out there and challenge themselves.
“If you have your eye set on something and your heart is in it, the only thing stopping you is you.”
Ms Clarke said her world record days are coming to a close, but she had ideas on a final one and she wants to do it in her home of Port Stephens next year.
Some of Eva’s world records:
2014: Most knuckle push-ups in one hour (female) (1206)
2014: Most knuckle push-ups in 24 hours (female) (9241)
2015: Most knuckle push-ups in a minute (female) (70)
2015: Most burpees in 12 hours (female) (8,178)
2015: Most burpees in 24 hours (female) (12,003)
Eva helped to raise $20,000 for World Childhood Cancer through the burpees challenge.
2015: Virgin Money London Marathon Fastest marathon carrying a 40-lb pack (female) (4 hr 34 min 42 sec)
2016: Most pull ups in one hour (female) (725)
2016: Most pull ups in 12 hours (female) (2740)
2016: Most pull ups in 24 hours (female) (3737)
This challenge raised more than USD$14,600 for Task Brazil - an NGO that runs residential care for children and young people living on the street in Brazil.
2016: Most chest to ground burpees in one hour (female) (920)
The attempt was part of Guinness World Records Day.
2018: Most burpees in one minute (female) (38)
Eva did the attempt during the fitness challenge at New York University.