Stuntman sets himself on fire then smashes two records in daring run
By David Stubbings
Published 05 December 2017
When asked by his friends to do a normal run for charity, stuntman Antony Britton had a much bolder idea: do a run while on fire.
As a result the Brit, supported by Stannage Stunt Team, has now broken the records for the Fastest 100 m sprint (full body burn, without oxygen) and Longest distance run full-body burn (without oxygen) in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
In front of an excited crowd at Huddersfield Rugby Union Football Club, Antony's 100 metre sprint took just 24.58 seconds, securing him his first record, before going on to run a total of 204.23 metres to take the crown for the longest run as well.
"It was very exciting. It is a total adrenaline rush and you can’t think of anything apart from what you’re doing. You see the challenge, see the finish line and think 'that’s where I need to be' so you focus all of your attention and energy into getting you there," he said.
"When the pain starts you just have to push through it and not allow yourself to focus on that as that would stop you, you just have to keep going and push yourself."
Preparations for the event were less than ideal, meaning Antony's mental state was even more important than usual.
"Usually training for an event like this would be quite intense – daily runs, stamina training, breathing techniques to increase lung capacity of holding your breath whilst physically active, etc. On this occasion though I was actually injured from a previous stunt so couldn’t do any training to prepare for the event other than work on developing my mindset that I could do it. On the night it was simply a case of focusing on what I had to do and believing that I could do it."
Antony is no stranger to daredevil stunts though having been a performer for 20 years – his interest ignited by his dad who used to go potholing (exploring natural cave networks).
“I was interested in what would happen if something went wrong. How would my dad and his friends get out?"
Despite being too young to go, Antony wasn’t put off and started his journey into escapology.
"I started small. I learnt to pick padlocks first. Then I'd try to pick the lock on my front door. Then my friend's front doors, and so on. My first escape was actually from the coal shed. I think I was about nine.”
Since then he’s turned the wick up to take on more dangerous routines such as jumping off bridges bound in chains in to rivers, being blown up, pulled apart and suspended by his ankles in a straitjacket from burning ropes.
He’s even escaped being buried alive.
When asked to do something ‘normal for charity such as a run, Antony decided it needed an extra element so decided to run while on fire.
"Their response to the whole run was 'are you kidding us?'. This kind of run was a first for them which kind of made the whole run even more special."
The record attempt was to help raise money for Candlelighters children's cancer charity and which Antony says was an "honour" to run for.
With the help of Stannage Stunt Team, two years of preparation came together for the double record-breaking run on 13 October 2017.