Former MLB Player Breaks World Record to Raise Money for Lymphoma Research
Former Oakland Athletics outfielder Eric Byrnes zipped around the golf course on foot for an estimated 65.5 miles during the Napa Valley Ultra 12 Hour Speed Golf Challenge. The 42-year-old played a total of 245 golf holes in a 12-hour span, breaking a new world record--all for lymphoma research.
About Eric Byrnes
Eric James Byrnes is a San Francisco Bay Area native who grew up in Woodside, California. He attended St. Francis High School, where he excelled playing both baseball and football. In 1994, Byrnes chose to attend UCLA on an athletic scholarship, although he was picked by the Los Angeles Dodgers during the Major League Baseball draft that very year. Four years later, he was drafted for a third time and eventually signed with the Oakland Athletics.
In 2002, Byrnes become the first American player in over 2 decades to be honored with the league’s Most Valuable Player award. In 2010, he stepped away from baseball to begin a career in broadcasting. In 2011, he completed his first full distance Ironman triathlon and since then, he has completed in 11 full distance Ironman races.
In 2018, Byrnes published his book, The F*It List: Life Lessons from a Human Crash Test Dummy, a detailed collection of his life experiences and lessons learned throughout his career. He is a passionate supporter of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, the Pat Tillman Foundation, and Fit Kids.
Currently, Byrnes is an analyst for the MLB Network. He is also a competitive ultra-runner on the side, whose race finishes include the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Byrnes now resides in Half Moon Bay, Truckee, and New York City with his wife Tarah and their three children – Cali, Chloe, and Colton.
One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind
The Napa Valley Ultra 12 Hour Speed Golf Challenge took place at Kennedy Park on April 21st 2018. Byrnes used one club throughout the entire game – an 8 iron. He played polo-style, hitting many of his shots with one hand and slowing down only to tee off or to putt once the ball was close to the hole. His first 18 holes took a mere 41 minutes. All in all, the 12-hour effort took him 13 rounds and 11 holes. “The strategy was to hit it short and in a direct line to the hole so I didn’t have to run too far out of the way. Not one ‘Fore!’ call the entire day,” explained Byrnes.
During his active days on field, Byrnes was nicknamed the “Crash Test Dummy”. He acknowledged to chasing after an ‘obscure’ record, stating that “if nothing else it’s a conversation starter and should get a few laughs.” And the record really does exist. At present, the Guinness Book of World Records credits the “most holes played in 12 hours without a cart” to Brad Luiten of New Zealand. Luiten played 237 holes at the Helensville Golf Course back in 2017. Byrnes said that he applied to the Guinness Book of World Records but is pending review of the evidence.
However, he underwent the effort for a much more valuable cause – to raise funds for non-toxic lymphoma research. And Byrnes did just that when he managed to raise over $5000.
Read on to learn more about lymphoma treatment updates and advances.
Photo: Oakland Athletics by Keith Allison