Six super-fit staff members from the centre will take on a team from an elite RAF parachute-trained squadron in an all-day challenge to be held in the H&M courtyard at the Spires on Saturday 16 June.
Each team member will have to perform 25 press ups in turn in a relay race that could take five to six hours to complete.
Shaun Wall, centre manager at the Spires, together with five other staff members from various outlets, is hoping the Barnet and RAF teams can each perform 20,000 press ups – double the existing record of 10,000 continuous press ups by a team of ten men.
The aim is to create a fun day for shoppers: children will be encouraged to join in as the teams complete their press up and there will be other events, all to be compered by “Mike and Mike”, two-1970s style sports commentators, who will do their best to urge on the competitors and entertain the crowd.
Shops in the Spires have pledged support and prizes: Waitrose is to provide drinks for the two teams; the Orchid Retreat day spa is offering to help massage tired limbs; and Carluccio’s has offered team members a free celebratory meal.
Mr Wall says the day of press ups and other events will be by far the most ambitious attraction organised for shoppers at the Spires and could turn into a record-breaking day if the two teams can keep it up.
“The Spires team members have been training hard and we have each been doing around 4,000 press ups a week.
....doing around 4,000 press ups a week
“The rules of the challenge are simple: each team consists of six, with the first team to complete 20,000 press ups winning. Only one member in each team can do press ups at any one time, so team work is imperative.
“We know the RAF team will be super fit and the challenge for all 12 of us will be to do our 25 press ups in as short a time as possible – say 1 minute 20 seconds – before handing over to the next team member, and so on.
“Just think of it: we will have to keep going for five or six hours if we are going to complete 20,000 press ups, and that’s a gargantuan task. And it is anybody’s guess which team will win.”
Mr Wall is being joined in his team by Sonny Reneti, a supermarket assistant at Waitrose; Ashkan Javedani, sales supervisor at CEX Entertainment Exchange; Ryan McGrath, gym manager at Any Time gym; Khilan Chandaria, assistant manager at EE; and Jo Larkins, a cleaner for the Spires.
The RAF team – from RAF Honington, Suffolk – is from an elite parachute-trained squadron and its motto is Nunquam Non Paratus (Never Unprepared).
Their visit to Barnet has been arranged by Mr Wall, who was a senior aircraft man with the RAF from 2002 until 2016 and who did two tours to Iraq.
“The RAF team are spending the night in Barnet and we hope we will all be celebrating a world record once we’ve completed our target for press ups.
“This is a near impossible challenge, but we have all been hard at work, training our bodies to take this kind of punishment.
Sonny Reneti, one of Mr Wall’s team, said the rest of the staff at Waitrose think he is mad to be taking on the challenge.
“I know what everyone thinks, but I have done fitness training for years and what is so important is that this brings us together as a team, and hopefully we can provide an entertaining day for shoppers at the Spires.”
The RAF regiment will provide a member to count the press ups by the Spires’ team and Spires’ tenant liaison officer, Fern Golder, will be counting the RAF team’s press ups.
Mr Wall is hoping to build up interest in the event. “We would love to see you on the day to offer your support and cheer on your team of choice. We would also love any financial support you can provide before the big day for our two charities.
“Please use the link – and see some training pictures to be uploaded shortly.”