Wisconsin man breaks world record of 1.5 million push-ups for charity

A Wisconsin man broke the world record for most pushups in a year in his effort to raise money for the families of fallen first responders

[June 11, 2021: Barry Adams]

A Wisconsin man appears to have broken the world record for most pushups in a year in his effort to raise money for the families of fallen first responders.

Nate Carroll, of Winneconne, completed his 1,500,231st pushup Sunday at the 50-yard line during halftime of the 48th annual Fun City Bowl, a football game between New York City first responders at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

And while the record — held since October 1989 by British athlete Paddy Doyle — still needs to be verified by the Guinness Book of World Records and the Record Holders Republic Registry of Official World Records, Carroll is continuing to add to his total. He has until Sunday to complete a year of pushups.

He averages more than 4,100 pushups a day but has done as many as 7,000 on some days to raise money for the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, created following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“It was an honor to set a new world record here in New York in front of members of the (New York Police Department, New York Fire Department and Port Authority Police Department) and other first responders,” Carroll said in a statement released late Sunday by the Tunnels to Towers Foundation. “I want this record to pay tribute to the sacrifice made by so many heroes that tragic day.”

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home program has paid off the mortgages or provided housing for 250 families since its inception in 2014. The charity, named after a New York City firefighter who died on Sept. 11, 2001, assists the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty who leave behind young children.

Carroll, 45, grew up in Manawa, where he played high school football, basketball and baseball, and then spent seven years in the Marine Corps Reserves. He graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 2000. The two-time Ironman competitor and long-distance runner has a knack for ultra-competitive endeavors.

He did 1 million pushups in 2019 as a way to say thanks to law enforcement officers around the country, did 5,000 pushups during a 31-mile, 10-hour run in October during the Glacial Trail 50K in Greenbush and pumped out another 3,000 amid the 26-mile Jail Break Marathon in Wautoma in September.

The divorced father of three began his quest for a world record on June 14, 2020. He hit 1 million pushups on March 2.

Carroll has done many of those pushups over the last year in the living room of his ranch-style home but has also taken breaks to do pushups while mowing his lawn and shoveling snow. He has pushed them out in the balcony of his church, beneath the bleachers at sporting events and in his office at the Wisconsin Resource Center, a mental health facility in Oshkosh for prison inmates where he’s been employed the past 20 years as a social worker.

Every pushup is documented in a log book, and most are posted on his YouTube channel in time-lapse form. He also relies on witnesses to ensure accountability. Carroll has applied to Guinness World Records, which will collect video, personal verification letters and likely do interviews to verify his integrity.

“Trying to balance this amount of pushups with being a father and working full time sometimes creates obstacles that you sometimes have to overcome,” Carroll told the Wisconsin State Journal last month. “I try to weave my pushups into my daily activity. To set aside time to do 4,000 pushups is impossible. You have to really make it a priority and be willing to commit to it and embrace the fact that you have to weave that into your day.”

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Joseph Shavit
Joseph ShavitSpace, Technology and Medical News Writer
Joseph Shavit is the head science news writer with a passion for communicating complex scientific discoveries to a broad audience. With a strong background in both science, business, product management, media leadership and entrepreneurship, Joseph possesses the unique ability to bridge the gap between business and technology, making intricate scientific concepts accessible and engaging to readers of all backgrounds.