Mike McCastle’s record-breaking feats, inspired by the 12 Labors of Hercules, are mindboggling journeys to the outer limits of mental strength.
On January 23, 2021 Mike will surpassed the world record for the longest full body immersion in ice after staying submerged for 2 hours and 40 minutes. This effort supported the Brian Grant Foundation’s exercise programs for people with Parkinson’s.
Mike McCastle is an American endurance athlete and strongman. In 2014, driven by a charitable purpose, he founded the Twelve Labors Project – an initiative through which he performs seemingly impossible challenges that push the limits of human performance. To date, Mike has set several world records while raising funds and national awareness in support of various causes such as Parkinson’s disease and Veteran mental health awareness.
As a teenager, Mike cared for his father, Raymond, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Mike quit the basketball team to focus his time on his dad’s well-being. Eventually Mike made the very hard decision to leave his dad to join the Navy, where he served for 11 years. In 2014, Raymond McCastle passed away, inspiring Mike to start his Twelve Labors Project.
The longest full body immersion in ice world record attempt symbolizes a common Parkinson’s symptom of rigidity. Rigidity is experienced by someone with Parkinson’s as stiffness in the extremities beyond what occurs naturally as a result of old age or arthritis. Mike’s father experienced this later in his battle with the disease as it progressed. As his symptoms worsened he would experience “freezing”, shortened steps followed by an inability to move his feet and loss of balance. He once said that that he felt “frozen”, in his own body.
Research has shown that with exercise, this symptom and many others can be mitigated and made easier to cope with by improving strength, balance and coordination. Exercise is an intervention that also significantly reduces the risk of falling.