As a firefighter and stunt performer, Vero mentioned, he loves the exhilaration of being set ablaze and feels a rush each time he fits up in flame-retardant gear.
Vero’s flame-filled race in September not too long ago earned a Guinness World Record for the quickest 100-meter dash and the farthest run whereas on hearth. The data have been the completion of a objective Vero, a 39-year-old resident of Lille, France, had set to show he was one of many world’s prime hearth stuntmen.
“I’m not scared about hearth,” Vero mentioned. “I like hearth. It’s a ardour for me.”
That keenness started when he was nonetheless a baby. As younger as 6, Vero mentioned, he was stealing matches and lighters from his grandparents and igniting his toy vehicles and planes of their backyard. He would examine the best way the hearth danced and adjusted colours as his toys melted into blobs.
Vero’s grandparents advised him to cease, however he stored experimenting. At age 10, Vero mentioned, he set a can of deodorant on hearth and was thrilled by how excessive the flames grew.
At 18, he grew to become a firefighter in northern France. That’s when he mentioned he witnessed firsthand how hearth might devastate a household.
“I noticed the darkish aspect of the hearth, with destruction, with burned our bodies,” Vero mentioned. “It was actually troublesome for me to simply accept this.”
He targeted on that job for almost 20 years earlier than he explored a second profession.
In 2019, Vero’s grandmother Agnes died at 89. As he grieved, Vero mentioned, he discovered a brand new outlet, one which reminded him of enjoying with flames as a baby: hearth stunts. He visited Austria to fulfill a stuntman from the Matrix collection and was launched to a gel that, whereas flammable, can shield folks’s pores and skin during stunts.
Vero mentioned he was scared to be set on hearth for the primary time, however after about two seconds of being engulfed in flames, his concern turned to pleasure.
In 2020, Vero began a hearth stunt firm, Ignition. He realized to juggle hearth torches and to eat and breathe hearth — or, at the least, learn how to seem to. He began acting at events.
However he needed to showcase extra of his abilities. As he scrolled by the listing of Guinness World Information final yr, he mentioned, he noticed there have been two flame-running data. He instantly needed to beat them.
The data have been held by a person from the UK, Antony Britton, who had sprinted 100 meters in 24.58 seconds and run 204.23 meters whereas on hearth in October 2017. The space working report had modified six instances since 2009.
In Might 2022, Vero started coaching by specializing in his respiratory whereas working on hearth. He selected a observe in his hometown — Haubourdin, France — because the venue to shatter the report.
On Sept. 10, Vero arrived on the observe and sketched out his path on a whiteboard in entrance of his colleagues. He jogged across the observe in black sweats to heat up.
Then, Vero suited up within the rest room. His first layer included flame-resistant black sweatpants and a long-sleeve shirt. He coated them within the particular gel and added a second layer — a blue-and-white jumpsuit additionally smeared in gel. Vero placed on a black masks to cowl his face.
His ultimate layer: his black hearth swimsuit, black gloves and boots. On a series round his neck, Vero mentioned, he connected his late grandmother’s diamond ring, which he touched for good luck earlier than the run.
Within the far-left lane, Vero leaned ahead earlier than somebody set his legs on hearth with a pair of torches. Along with his 6-year-old daughter, 3-year-old son and different household members and mates watching from the bleachers, Vero ran greater than midway throughout the observe earlier than colleagues sprayed him with the extinguishers.
Vero mentioned his again and hamstrings have been burned after the race, however he lathered his pores and skin with cream, and it healed after a number of days.
“Whenever you wish to break this type of report,” Vero mentioned, “you must settle for the hazards.”
Vero mentioned he’s develop into extra cautious about performing stunts since his youngsters have been born. However he’s proud to point out his children the Guinness World Report certificates he obtained final week, and he doesn’t plan to cease.
“There [are] a number of data that I feel I can break,” Vero mentioned.