Now a fitness instructor in Dallas, the former infantryman with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, said if he could pull through 36-hour raids in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2005, the pullup challenge was reachable.
“I thought about the Marines, my kids and the reasons why I came back,” he said. “The cause was for veterans, and it’s not inspiring if you don’t accomplish the mission.”
Valentino’s feat was televised by Fox & Friends, ABC News and Spike TV in New York. Retired Army Staff Sgt. Brendan Ferreira, of 101st Airborne, who lost his left arm below the elbow, did pullups alongside Valentino during the challenge.
When Valentino beat McCastle’s record of 5,804 in a day, Guinness World Records verified it and awarded him the title.
And while Marines spend their careers perfecting the pullup, Valentino said even some leathernecks are surprised that he could manage to do nearly 6,000 in a day.
“I’m getting some posts on social media from people saying, ‘congrats, devil dog, congrats veteran,’ and some people are in utter disbelief,” Valentino said.
Valentino said his time in the Marine Corps taught him that nothing is ever “too high to climb out of.”
“Don’t ever fall into a pit where you believe you’re not valuable,” he said. “You’re stamped Marine for a reason, so finish the fight all the way.”