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Steve Gaul after 121 hours of drumming!

Crossing the finish-line to the iconic rock anthem, Queen's "We Are The Champions," the exhausted Burlington, Ontario drummer, Steve Gaul, set a new world's record for the longest drumming session with an astonishing 121 hours — that is 5-days plus one hour!

The event ended on Wednesday, August 10th, at 9am, with almost 100 supporters packed into the room, all cheering for their local musician with signs that read "Go Steve" and "You Beat It."

While setting a new world record, beating Russ Prager's 2009 record by one hour, is great, Gaul's primary focus was to try and raise $100,000 for cancer research.

The 40-year-old Gaul, himself beating the testicular cancer he was diagnosed with when he was only 23-years-old, ended up raising close to $30,000.

"It just goes to show you one person can make a difference," said an exhausted Gaul. "Now I don't mean everyone should do something as crazy as what I just did, but we all need to take care of each other and help each other out."


Gaul, with the help of a team of nutritionists and personal trainers, followed a rigorous plan that included months of strength and endurance training. Special attention was given to the muscles he relied on most while drumming  — his back, core, shoulders, arms and wrists.

His 2010 record breaking attempt and fund raiser, at which time his sister Toni was battling cancer, helped him prepare for this year as well. Although he tapped out, exhausted after 73 hours of drumming, Gaul's efforts did raise $27,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Gaul dedicated this year’s successful attempt to Toni, who died of paranasal cancer, December 2010.

The Event

On Friday, August 5th, 8am at the Burlington Music Centre, Steve Gaul began his journey playing a 7-pc Yamaha drumkit, which he used for the majority of his marathon session. He did, however, have a second set of drums, stacked vertically, which allowed him to continue drumming while standing to stretch his legs.

To break the world record, Gaul had to play to recognizable songs, each lasting at least two minutes with no more than a 30-second break in between each tune. He was allowed one 5-minute break for every hour of playing, but was permitted to bank the breaks so he could take longer breaks after a few consecutive hours of drumming.

I’ll beat cancer with my sticks.

With the help of a personal holistic nutritionist, Gaul was kept on a strict diet of organic supplements designed to maintain high energy levels and prevent a physical crash. He underwent frequent checkups every hour and was closely monitored by his medical team from Mississauga's Ultimate Sports Therapy.

During the marathon, Gaul wore compression socks to keep the blood in his legs flowing. To keep up his energy, he snacked on goji berries, chia seeds with honey and lemon juice, and low-carb meatballs. When his body stopped digesting food at around 60 hours, he switched to protein shakes to maintain his caloric intake.

While Gaul had to overcome physical and mental tests in his quest to set a new world's record, he was quoted saying that the hallucinations he suffered from sleep deprivation were a notable distraction. He credited his 2010 record attempt with helping him get through it.

“It’s important to know what it’s going to feel like so you can know when you’re hallucinating or you’re crossing between the borders of reality and fiction.”

Gaul went on to say that green tea and mental exercises played a role in keeping him awake and cognizant — but those weren’t the only factors at play.

“There comes a time when that stuff doesn’t work anymore," says Gaul, "... then it comes down to one thing ... willpower.”


Although Gaul didn't quite reach his goal of raising $100,000, donations can still be made to the Canadian Cancer Society in support of Gaul and his late sister, Toni, at www.beatstobeatcancer.com.

After the event, Steve Gaul had anticipated that it might take some time before he would be able to get a full night's sleep, and maybe some pain, but did not count on five of his ribs being knocked out of place!

Gaul says the strain on his body has also moved organs and bones around, and that he's suffered swelling in his hands, arms, legs and feet.

His appetite hasn't returned as of yet, and it has taken him about four days just to make a fist.

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