Monday, March 28, 2011

Guinness Book of World Records!

As a kid, one of my favorite books in the elementary school library was The Guinness Book of World Records.  I would look at the pictures of bizarre people with their amazing and often very odd 'talents'.  This was before the Internet, so where else could you learn about the tallest man in the world, the longest fingernails, fattest cat, and most jumps on a trampoline while juggling chainsaws continuously for 1 hour?  It was also always impressive to look at the records for running/sprinting and see the limits of the human body and what it is capable of.
Throughout the years, I would revisit this book and often think about how cool it would be to break a world record and possibly be in the book.  The funny thing is, I never thought of doing it as a runner.  As much as running had become a huge part of my life, it never crossed my mind that the two could ever be put together.  The thought of making the book was always coupled with some outlandish plan to be the first to execute a pogo stick backflip over a moving car, solve a rubics cube underwater, or something crazy along those lines.

The dreams start to fade as you realize that you can't solve a rubics cube without removing the stickers and you've never really been on a pogo stick. I did try and use a basketball as a pogo ball once in an attempt to see if a record would be possible by bouncing on it for a certain number of times.  This ended badly.  I barely got what could be considered a bounce when my face decided it was going to be the first body part to catch my fall on the concrete sidewalk.  Luckily it wasn't videoed and YouTube wouldn't exist for another 10 years.

Fast forward to adult Andrew. I work for a small school.  We have a small library.  In this library we have 2 copies of The Guinness Book, and they are worn out terribly.  These 2 books get checked out more than just about any other book and show the wear and tear from countless hours of little eyes pouring through their pages in awe and wonder.  It makes me happy to think that even with the vast expanses of the Internet, these kids still turn to the pages of this book.  I have to admit that when I've seen it in the return book pile, I've pulled it out to thumb through the pages myself.  A lot of the records have changed and there are many records that didn't exist in the old 1980's copy but the feelings are still there.  'Cool'... 'Awesome'... 'Wow'... and that's just looking at the updated cover.

Fast forward to this past weekend, and I found myself lacing up my racing flats (an old pair of Asics from HS/College days) and toeing the line to be part of a Guinness World Record... no pogo stick, rubics cube, scary long fingernails, or chainsaws... I would be running!

The Charlotte Running Club (CRC) caught wind of a club in Florida setting the Guinness World Record for a 100 x 5k relay and decided Charlotte could give it a go.  The club solicited members and runners from the Charlotte area to submit their 5k PR (within the past few years) and what time you estimate for running a 5k run alone on a track at any hour of the day (the relay is planned to last well over 24 hours).  I didn't want to admit how excited I was about the possibility of being picked for the relay but if you read above... this would be my chance to fulfill a childhood dream.  Needless to say, I was excited to get selected and found my projected time (19:59) barely made the cut (I think I was third from slowest) and my 'adult' PR of 19:40 (run on a completely flat Nascar track) didn't put me up the list much further.  Ego and laughing comments about being the 'slowest' of the 'fast kids' aside... I had made the cut and was picked!

The Florida club had laid down the record of 37+ hours (avg 5k time ~22:30) and CRC had assembled a list of 5k assassins ready to average 17:45!  Even with my slowness bringing down the average, we were estimated to not just beat the record but to destroy it.

I ran my leg of the 5k as runner #65 around 2am and managed to crush my 'adult PR' with a 18:49 on a track... alone... in less than ideal conditions (rainy, cold, windy and did I mention on a track?!).

For details on my 5k portion you can check out my 'race' post... WARNING: Blog post probably contains more detail than you could ever care about (including 400m chip timed splits over the entire 5k).

Our first runner started Saturday morning just after 6am and the final runner finished mid day on Sunday... we demolished the previous record (by over 6 hours)!  100 runners ran back to back at all hours and conditions (mostly cold and rainy) for 30 hours 56 minutes 49 seconds and averaged a 5:58 mile pace over the entire 311 miles (18:23 average 5k)

For group records like this, my name will probably never grace the pages of The Guinness Book of World Records, and CRC will be lucky to have a picture make it to print.  For me, it doesn't take away from the fact that I was part of a World Record.

I could feel/see childhood Andrew smile a lot during my 5k and it only grew after the record was broken.  Official results have been posted and paperwork, pictures, videos, and everything else is getting shipped off to Guinness as we play the waiting game for the record to be made official.  For all intents and purposes though... We did it!  And we didn't even need any rubics cubes or pogo sticks.

1 comment:

  1. We remember well those day's, & the many ideas you had. I also remember Dad telling you, if you really wanted it you could make it happen. You just had to think of what to do.
    We are so proud of all you have accomplished through the years. Congratulations Son!
    Mom & Dad