Unless you’re eight years old and already displaying significant natural talent at a particular sporting discipline, it’s unlikely that you (like me) will ever experience the unique thrill that comes with breaking a world record. Being declared “the best there’s ever been” at something, and hailed as a champion. If Olympic glory is your dream, and you’re not already making dedicated strides towards your goal, time has probably run out, I’m sorry to tell you.
But all is not lost, friend! Who’s to say that you have to be the best at something useful? Or logical, even? The bar for “best job ever” is set low for certain things. Usually because they’re so ridiculous, or so utterly insane, that few people – if any – would bother to try them. It’s this rich vein of opportunity and potential glory that we regular folk must mine if we are to become record breakers! Read on, and learn how other brave pioneers of the ridiculous have paved the way before us!
World Record Holder for ‘Most World Records’
It takes guts, grit and years of dedication to break a world record and carve your name in history. Or, a little creativity and your tongue planted firmly in your cheek, explains Gord Laws.
At 57-years-old, Ashrita Furman has broken enough records for a hundred (still quite loony) lifetimes. The health shop-owner from Queens, New York, currently holds more than 120 world records, including the current record for most records held by an individual at one time. Here’s how he does it:
Stay hungry for glory!
In 1979, Ashrita broke his first world record by performing 27,000 jumping jacks. Since then he’s broken or set more than 300 records overall. Currently holding more than 120 recognised world records, he’s still in good shape and shows no sign of relenting.
Be a hippy!
Next time you knock esoteric types, consider that Ashrita accredits his strength and success to his spiritual beliefs. He seeks new challenges in order to “demonstrate the benefits of the ancient Eastern Arts”. Originally called Keith, “Ashrita” has been practicing meditation for thirty years. His name means “Protected by God” in Sanskrit and was bestowed upon him by his spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy.
And when he’s not targeting new records to set? Ashrita runs an organic health-food store in his hometown.
Go big or go home!
It took Ashrita years of practice and repeated failures to break the record for the fastest eight kilometre sprint... on stilts. In 2004, in China, he set a time of 39 minutes, 56 seconds, breaking a record that had remained unchallenged since 1892. He’s also performed 9 628 sit-ups in one-hour, balanced 700 eggs end on end, and travelled more than 19 km doing forward roly-polys. But Ashrita’s speciality seems to be covering long distances in the most uncomfortable ways he can imagine. Like carrying nine pounds (more than four kilograms) of bricks in one hand over a distance of 85.05 miles (137 kilometres) in 1999. Just imagine how badly you’d have to want that record...
Of course, not every record has to be an act of superhuman endurance or insane tenacity. You could always think of something outrageously random and hope that no one’s thought (or bothered) to set an impressive marker yet. Like in 2004, when Furman set the record for the fastest 100 metres on a spacehopper (or “kangaroo ball”), completing the distance in a remarkably spritely 30,2 seconds.
In 2006 he built the largest ever popcorn sculpture, standing 20-foot-ten-inches (over six metres) tall. He also set a world record in 2007 when he hula-hooped for two-minutes and 38 seconds. Underwater.
Seeing your opportunity for greatness, it seems, may be a simple matter of looking out for it. And then having the courage (and the light sprinkling of crazy) it takes to seize the day.
Other Routes you May Want to Try
Just about anything you truly set your mind to collecting could, potentially, land you up with a “biggest collection ever” world record. Make sure it’s something you’re really into, and then get going. Like the UK’s Lisa Courtney, whose collection of 14 410 pieces of Pokemon memorabilia landed her a Guinness World Record in 2009.
Be strong. And specific
Being the strongest human on earth is going to be really hard work; however you plan to measure it. That’s why it pays to narrow the field of competition by choosing something that’s really tough, and really obscure. Canada’s Kevin Fast – whose “thing” is finding, and then pulling, the heaviest vehicles he can – is a good example. He holds the Guinness World Records for the Heaviest Vehicle Pulled over 100 Feet by a Male (a 57,243 kilogram fire truck in 2008) and the Heaviest Aircraft Pulled by a Man (a CC-177 Globemaster III, weighing 188.83 tonnes, over 8.8 metres in 2009.)
Master something gross
It helps if you’re the world’s best at something too disturbing or creepy to have much of a mainstream following (or any competition!). Squirting milk out of your tearducts, for example, is not something likely to land anyone a multi-million dollar Nike endorsement. Which is a pity, if you’re Turkey’s Ilker Yilmaz, who set the Farthest Milk Squirting Distance Guinness World Record in 2004, spraying the stuff 279.5 centimetres from his (highly lactose tolerant) eye. On the bright side, he’s probably not calcium deficient.
Be a ninja
Well, technically, China’s Fan Weipeng is a kung-fu master, but close enough, I say. Any mystical martial art that enables you to execute seemingly impossible physical acts in ludicrous time will help your quest. Think about breaking a ceramic bowl using just your finger. Ouch, right? Okay, now think about breaking 102 of them in just one minute. That’s exactly what Fan did in 2009 when he broke his own previous record of 99, earning the Guinness World Record for Most Bowls Broken with One Finger in One Minute.
For other bizarre world record holders visit: www.guinnessworldrecords.com