As a firefighter and stunt performer, Vero stated, 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 just lately earned a Guinness World Record for the quickest 100-meter dash and the farthest run whereas on hearth. The data had been the completion of a aim 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 stated. “I really like hearth. It’s a ardour for me.”
That keenness started when he was nonetheless a baby. As younger as 6, Vero stated, he was stealing matches and lighters from his grandparents and igniting his toy automobiles and planes of their backyard. He would research the best way the hearth danced and altered colours as his toys melted into blobs.
Vero’s grandparents advised him to cease, however he stored experimenting. At age 10, Vero stated, 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 stated he witnessed firsthand how hearth might devastate a household.
“I noticed the darkish aspect of the hearth, with destruction, with burned our bodies,” Vero stated. “It was actually tough for me to simply accept this.”
He targeted on that job for almost twenty years earlier than he explored a second profession.
In 2019, Vero’s grandmother Agnes died at 89. As he grieved, Vero stated, he discovered a brand new outlet, one which reminded him of enjoying with flames as a baby: hearth stunts. He visited Austria to satisfy a stuntman from the Matrix sequence and was launched to a gel that, whereas flammable, can defend folks’s pores and skin during stunts.
Vero stated 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 very least, easy methods to seem to. He began acting at events.
However he wished to showcase extra of his expertise. As he scrolled by way of the record of Guinness World Information final yr, he stated, he noticed there have been two flame-running data. He instantly wished to beat them.
The data had 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 gap working file had modified six instances since 2009.
In Could 2022, Vero started coaching by specializing in his respiration whereas working on hearth. He selected a monitor in his hometown — Haubourdin, France — because the venue to shatter the file.
On Sept. 10, Vero arrived on the monitor and sketched out his path on a whiteboard in entrance of his colleagues. He jogged across the monitor in black sweats to heat up.
Then, Vero suited up within the toilet. His first layer included flame-resistant black sweatpants and a long-sleeve shirt. He lined 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 closing layer: his black hearth swimsuit, black gloves and boots. On a sequence round his neck, Vero stated, he hooked up 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 monitor earlier than colleagues sprayed him with the extinguishers.
Vero stated his again and hamstrings had been burned after the race, however he lathered his pores and skin with cream, and it healed after just a few days.
“Whenever you wish to break this type of file,” Vero stated, “you must settle for the hazards.”
Vero stated he’s turn into extra cautious about performing stunts since his kids had been born. However he’s proud to point out his youngsters the Guinness World File certificates he acquired final week, and he doesn’t plan to cease.
“There [are] a whole lot of data that I feel I can break,” Vero stated.