New Jersey woman attempts to break world record for burpees

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An Atlantic County woman took on a Guinness World Record this past weekend by putting her mind and body to the test.

"I’ve never done burpees for 12 hours - ever. I don't know many people that have,” says Gena Laiell of Somers Point.

Laiell is the co-owner of Gen Fitness. She says that she was terrified to attempt to break the current female world record - 4,785 burpees in 12 hours. But she says that she put her fears behind her and attempted to break the record this past Saturday.

"The first hour was great because everyone was here and burpee-ing with me. The second hour I was like, ‘alright,’ then the third hour I was kind of hitting a wall. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m only halfway to the halfway point,” Laiell says.

So, what pushed her through the 12-hour ordeal? She says it was her son and her 6-year-old daughter, Emma. Emma was born with an omphalocele--meaning some of her organs were outside of her body. The event raising money and awareness for the rare birth defect, and pancreatic cancer.

"She's my hero and the strongest person that I know,” says Laiell. “I feel like she's molded me into who I am today."

Attempting the record came with strict guidelines including multiple cameras, counters and making sure that Laiell had the correct form. But at the end – she completed the challenge.

"I still can't believe that I did 5,332 burpees,” she says.

The record was unofficially broken. Laiell says that it is a moment that she will never forget – one that she shared with her daughter.

"Just watching her burpee with me in those last 10 minutes made on the 5,332 burpees and a long 12-hour period worth it, because she motivated me to the end,” Laiell says.

It will be a few months before Guinness verifies the record and Laiell can officially take the title. She says in honor of the burpee marathon, she gave her fitness classes the week off from burpees.

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