THEY spun hula-hoops and swallowed swords underwater, walked on bottles and knitted a scarf four kilometres long. In a celebration of ingenuity and dedication over common sense yesterday, hundreds of people marked Guinness World Records Day with a host of obscure challenges.
In America a Harlem Globetrotter sunk the longest basketball shot by successfully throwing it more than 109 feet, in Japan Kenichi Ito ran the 100 metres in 16.87 seconds – on all fours – and in Britain the world records for simultaneous hula-hooping and the number of people dressed up as penguins were smashed.
Guinness World Records Day was established nine years ago to commemorate the day in 2004 when the Guinness World Records became the world’s best-selling book still in copyright. Since then the annual event has been dedicated to encouraging people around the world to set their own world record.
Yesterday Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, said: “If you’ve ever dreamt of getting your name in the world’s most famous record book, this is your chance. Guinness World Records Day brings together like-minded people – whether they’re ninjas, hula-hoopers, sword swallowers or penguin fancy-dressers – and it’s free and open to absolutely anyone. It’s one thing to be amazing, but are you Officially Amazing?”
In Britain a team of ten broke the world record for the most hula-hoops being spun simultaneously as they kept 264 in the air at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London.
The previous evening the longest conga on ice was broken by BBC Children In Need when 353 people, including the London Bulldogs ice hockey team, all donned ice skates and were led by Pudsey Bear in the successful world record attempt.
Among the other record breakers were 325 people dressed as penguins. In Germany, Joe Alexander walked across 60 upright bottles to win his place in next year’s edition, while in Sweden, Claes Blixt unveiled the world’s largest table knife, which measured a scary 2.48 metres.
A far more impressive feat of carving was completed by Zheng Chunhui, who created the world’s largest carving by whittling a vast townscape out of a tree trunk 12 metres long. A Japanese man who runs on his arms and legs broke his own Guinness world record for the 100-metres dash. Kenichi Ito finished in 16.87 seconds, shaving more than half a second off his 2012 run of 17.47 seconds. The 30-year-old had been training for a decade, studying how primates move through books, videos and zoo visits, and even trying to move on all fours in his everyday life. He is now lobbying for racing on four limbs to become an official track and field event.
Other record attempts included Japan’s attempt at the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Ninjas (record to beat: 250 participants), and Germany held the Most Darts Caught by Hand in One Minute (record to beat: 12).
Hong Kong hosted an attempt for the Most People Performing Sign Language (record to beat: 4,796), Thailand saw the Most Handstand Push-Ups in One Minute (record to beat: 20) and Australia hosted the Deepest Underwater Sword Swallow, where the current record is eight metres. Results will be posted later.