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World Records Tumble
This month the 51-year-old strongman set his 103rd Guinness World Record – he has 30 recent records – by carrying a man of exactly the same weight in the Fireman’s Carry position for one kilometer in fifteen minutes.
He previously ran 50 miles in 9 hours playing three balls; properly a bottle of milk on his head continuously for 81 kilometers; well seventy-five 20oz pint glasses on his chin; scaled the 1900 steps of Toronto’s CN Tower; hit the entire 12 1/4 mile stretch of Paul Revere’s Massachusetts tour; and traveled 8 kms within 40 minutes – to name a few. On Oprah Winfrey’s show Ashrita was escorted by medical personnel after eating the world’s hottest pepper!
Some of Ashrita’s records over the past three decades include the fastest distance pushing an orange with her nose, the fastest distance on a pogo stick and the most milk cartons ever held on anyone’s chin.
Ashrita did her latest attempt to coincide with Guinness World Records Day. Guinness Records, which keeps records of all the wacky and wonderful has been around for 50 years, and has set aside November 9th as a day to celebrate historic achievements.
On hand to confirm Ashrita’s record was Stuart Claxton, head of Guinness’s US research team. “Guinness World Records has a good sense of humor, so we’re always interested in making it fun. But really we’re looking for things that other people can break because as we always say, ‘Records are meant to be. broken’ – and that’s what we’re celebrating today, ” he said.
Other efforts were also held around the world to commemorate Guinness Record Day. This month in New York Chad Fell shot a 20 inch bubblegum, setting the record for the largest ever without using hands. Aaron Studham of Leominster, Massachusetts wore the longest Mohawk hair, coming up with a hair height of 21 cm. Other Guinness Records being attempted were the ‘Longest Non-Stop Flight’, from Hong Kong to London’s Heathrow, and the attempt of ‘ Largest Milkshake’ hosted by a group in Brisbane, Australia.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon team of which Ashrita is a member is planning another annual event in Germany to commemorate Guinness World Record Day. A one-day event called the ‘Impossibility Challenger’, it attracts people from all over the world who want to set world records and personal records in various non-Olympic sports. To the athletes and competitors the sport is known as ‘Guinnessport’. The term was coined in the 70s to describe daredevil antics that earned a place in The Guinness Book of World Records, which is also the best-selling book in the world. According to Guinnessport’s Impossibility Challenger organizers and fans, the goal is to ‘overcome the limits of humanity and challenge the seemingly impossible’.
This year Shobha Tipnis from India became the first woman in the world to pour a hot water bottle on her lungs until it exploded. Gill Zafar from neighboring Pakistan picked up a 55kg metal plate with his right ear and carried the weight for 12.2 seconds in the air. Shamita Achenbach-Konig set a Guinness Record that lowered the ears – the cellist from Vienna played the cello for 24 hours.
Albert Walter, who holds the Swiss record in the 2004 press, set new world records. He tore through a phone book with 960 pages in 2.8 seconds and broke an 8.5mm thick nail with his bare hands. Germany’s Rainer Schroder pulled a three-ton car with his teeth a Guinness World Record distance of 35.8 meters in one minute flat. Slovakia’s Milan Roskopf set a world record by landing three 20lb [9kg] shot put for 25.6 seconds.
Ashrita Furman, the king of Guinnessport and often the main card draw, at the Impossibility Challenger recently set not one but three new records. In the space of a few hours he completed a mile of hula-hoop spinning, a mile of lunging [in which the knee had to touch the ground at every step]and standing on an exercise ball, clocking three hours and 30 minutes and breaking his previous record by more than an hour.
Guinnesport fans expect the impossible from Furman. He has broken so many records, in so many ways, that in 1987 Guinness editor Norris McWhirter gave him the title ‘Mr. Versatility’ and allowed him a bonus reputation: worldwide reputation in different groups.
Anke Riedel, director of the new Impossibility-Challenger, remembers the event back in 1990 when Ashrita broke the record for playing the most hopscotch games in 24 hours. . The Impossibility-Challenger is nothing if not different.
Over the past 25 years, Furman has broken more than 103 records in everything from rowing to cross country. ‘Ask fans who is the greatest athlete of all time,’ The Christian Science Monitor once wrote, ‘and you’ll hear a familiar argument over players like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth. Ask the readers of The Guinness Book of World Records, however, and you’ll probably hear agreement on one name: Ashrita Furman.’
Ashrita visited New Zealand in 2003 when she set a world record by throwing lead balls underwater at Kelly Tarltons Underwater World for 48 minutes without stopping in a large fish tank. His first attempt was interrupted after 16 minutes when a small parrot fish repeatedly bit him on the nose!
Furman says all she has been able to do is meditate throughout her life, which she believes has helped develop her mental focus, self-confidence and energy. He is also quick to credit all his writings to his meditation teacher, 74-year-old Sri Chinmoy.
“As a teenager I began to search for a deeper purpose in life and studied Eastern philosophy and yoga. Later I went to the West to meditate with my Indian master Sri Chinmoy, a meeting that changed my life. Sri Chinmoy changed the way I lived. He looked things.His wisdom of self-discipline, overcoming your limits and progressing daily spiritually, organically and physically, using the power of meditation, impressed me so much. to my lifelong commitment to nerdness.
But I realized that the body is only a spiritual instrument, and, if done with the right awareness, physical activity can be more stimulating than meditation in a temple!
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