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Squatting for 24 hours: Decatur man aims to break world record while supporting community organization

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s not always easy to motivate yourself to go to the gym, lift some weights and run a couple of miles. But for Tony Piraino, his community is encouraging him while he squats thousands and thousands of times.

Piraino is trying to break a Guinness World Record — the most air squats in 24 hours. He started at 5 a.m. on Thursday and is aiming to do 26,000 in 24 hours.

It’s all for a good cause. He’s raising money and awareness for the Marion County Horizon Center of Decatur and Mount Zion. The organization provides resources, housing and employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. The money he raises will allow them to do activities throughout the community.

Long-term U.S. 36 project starting in Decatur Tuesday

He takes short 30-second breaks every 22 squats, and a few longer breaks throughout the day. During one of his short “breathers,” WCIA asked him how he was feeling.

“I wish I could say great,” he joked. “I got a long time left to go here and I’m getting tired. But I’ve got a lot of support here and a lot of energy drinks and carboloading.”

Between family and friends cheering him on, so were a few people from Douglas County, who are all part of the Horizon Center closer to their hometown in Arcola.

Evelyn Fathauer, a Special Olympian focusing on powerlifting, was excited to watch him work toward breaking a world record.

“It shows that you shouldn’t give up, never give up, just keep trying. If you’re pushed down just keep trying,” she said.

Piraino will wrap up around 5 a.m. Friday. He’s raised a few thousand dollars so far and hopes to raise $10,000. You can visit his pledge page here.

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