WATCH: Flaming firefighter burns up the track to Guinness World Record

Jonathan Vero

A French firefighter has sent two previous world records up in smoke after running 100 meters on a track while engulfed in flames. Guinness World Records has announced it has certified Jonathan Vero of Haubourdin, France, as the new world record holder for the longest distance full-body burn without oxygen, as well as the fastest full-body burn 100-metre sprint without oxygen.

Vero set both records during his dramatic dash in his hometown on Sept. 10 last year, when, wearing a protective suit, the 39-year-old ran 272.25 m on a local track while on fire. In addition to breaking the distance record in this specialized category, Vero also set a speed record for running 100m while on fire, covering the distance in 17 seconds—7.58 seconds faster than the previous record. Both records were formerly held by British runner Anthony Britton.

Jonathan Vero
Photo: Guinness World Records

Like moths to a flame, competitors continue to be drawn to the challenge of running while ablaze—and in surprising numbers. According to Guinness World Records, the bar for the longest distance full-body burn run without oxygen has been raised seven times since the fiery feat was first set by British runner Keith Malcolm in 2009.

Fittingly, Summer is burning the candle at both ends. In addition to being a firefighter, he is also a professional stuntman. He balanced both jobs while spending three months preparing for his record-breaking run, focusing his training on “endurance, explosiveness and breathing.”

Jonathan Vero-world record
Photo: Guinness World Records

Telling Guinness World Records that he has “always had a passion for fire” and that he “never stopped playing with it” even from an early age, Vero said setting the record on the track he used to run as a boy melted his heart. “This performance has a lot of meaning for me, for my job as a firefighter and for the people who trained me and watched me grow,” he said.

Vero insisted he still has a long way to go before his desire to break world records burns out. “I’ve still got a lot to try and a lot of records to go for,” he said.

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