Freestyle footballer travels 50 miles while doing keepie uppies

A freestyle footballer is hoping to add to his collection of world records after travelling 50 miles across a Siberian lake - while doing half a million KEEPIE UPPIES. 

John Farnworth defied temperatures of minus 20 as he kept the ball up in the air while crossing the world's deepest and oldest lake in Russia for two days. 

The only time the 34-year-old stopped freestyling during the challenge earlier this month was when he was sleeping or taking food or toilet breaks. 

John kept the ball up for 7-8 hours each day as he crossed Lake Baikal.

On the second day of his challenge the back of his left leg and knee started to seize up but he pushed on. 

He said: "It was caused by a mix of not sleeping great and frequently coming in and out of the hot and cold.

"I really started to worry if I could continue and I was worried I was going to let people down. 

"For the first time, it was a real struggle."

But, once his team - which included his friend, George Mayfield, and two Russian locals - massaged it out, the pain became bearable enough to continue. 

John, from Preston, Lancs., added: "I just knew I was going to go on until I could not go on any more."

The thrill-seeking sportsman explained one of the most difficult things was gauging how best to respond to the challenging temperature. 

He said: "In the end I took layers off  but when I took the layers off, my face started to freeze. 

"I tried to get the right amount of layers, so I was not too hot or too cold. 

"It was -20 in the morning, it went up to minus five in day where it felt quite warm. 

"It was sunny. It was really cold in the morning and started to creep up during the day and then dipped back down."

John has previously completed challenges including 250,000 keepie uppies while crossing the Sahara Desert last year and, in 2018, he performed kick-ups while climbing Mount Everest.  

However, he said Lake Baikal was 'definitely my hardest challenge physically and from an endurance point of view'. 

He admitted he got 'used to being uncomfortable' and said: "My body was definitely tested without much recovery.

"Thinking about it now brings back really good memories even though it was quite tough."

The record John has made - which he is confident will be confirmed in the next few weeks - is the farthest distance covered in an hour while keeping a ball under control on ice.

The distance of 4.77kms is yet to be approved but he says he has enough evidence to get it over the line.

Keepie uppies, also known as keep-ups or kick-ups, is the skill of keeping a football in the air without it touching the ground by using your feet, knees, chest and head.

As part of his preparation, the freestyler spoke to British explorer Ash Routen who crossed Lake Baikal as part of a 19-day expedition between March and April 2018. 

He also underwent a lot of training on ice to prepare himself for the frozen conditions. 

John undertook the incredible challenge to raise money for Cancer Research which he hopes to earn £10,000 for.