Who Holds the Most Guinness World Records?

atkins-bookshelf-trivia“How can your life be satisfied / With small realities / If your heart has big dreams?” Sri Chinmoy

Inspiration comes in many forms. This is the story of how a book and a meditation class changed a person’s life forever. Soon after The Guinness Book of Records was published in August of 1954, Ashrita Furman (the future “Mr. Versatility”) was born. As soon as the lad could read, he became fascinated with the record book: “[Perhaps] it was the sense of perfection about being the best in the world at something that attracted my interest. Whatever the reason, I remember poring through “the book” as a kid, filling my head with all those spectacular superlatives… Of course, I never imagined I would ever get into The Guinness Book, because I was totally dedicated to developing my mind and felt sports was a complete waste of time. In fact, I even got beaten up my first day of high school for being such a nerd!”

Furman’s life changed dramatically when he attended a meditation conducted by Sri Chinmoy, an Indian meditation master.  Chinmoy introduced Furman to the Eastern philosophy of transcendence, allowing the young man to harness the power of meditation. Furman elaborates: “Chinmoy radically altered the way I looked at things. Instead of using the mind to settle the questions of existence, he taught me to dive into the heart where a person’s inner divinity can be most easily felt. I was flooded with a newfound peace and delight. My teacher’s philosophy of self-transcendence, of overcoming your limits and making daily progress spiritually, creatively and physically using the power of meditation, really thrilled me… Attempting records has become an inherent part of my spiritual journey. I scour the Guinness Book looking for a category I think will be challenging and fun.”

Chinmoy was absolutely right: “if one can be in touch with one’s inner spirit, anything is possible.” Beginning in 1980, Furman has gone to set an impressive 481 Guinness World Records all around the world (he has broken a Guinness record on every continent). Today he holds 166 standing records, including the record for “the most records held at the same time by an individual.”

When he isn’t training or breaking records, Furman is a store manager at a health food store in Queens, New York. Despite his amazing accomplishment, he remains humble and hopes his life’s journey is an inspiration to others: “I hope after reading all this that you are inspired to attempt some feat of your own. The particular event is unimportant as long as it gives you the opportunity to dance on the edge of your capacity. But be prepared – the benefits could be both illumining and far-reaching!” To that, Chinmoy adds: “The determination in your heroic effort will permeate your mind and heart even after your success or failure is long forgotten.” 

Below are 10 of the 166 records that Furman set, followed by year and country where the record was set:

1. Somersaulting – Longest continuous distance: 12 miles 390 yards (Apr 1986, US)
2. Hopscotch: Most games completed in 24 hours: 434 games (Mar 1998, Mexico)
3. Milk Bottle Balancing on Head – Longest continuous distance: 80.95 miles (Apr 1998, US)
4. Pogostick Jumping Up Steps – Fastest time up CN Tower: 1899 steps in 57 min  51 sec (July 1999, Canada)
5. Brick Carrying with One Hand (9 pounds) – Longest continuous distance: 85.05 miles (Oct 1999, US)
6. Somersaulting – Fastest mile: 19 min, 11 sec (Nov 2000, US)
7. Pogostick Jumping – Fastest mile: 12 min, 16 sec (Jul 2001, England)
8. Sack Racing – Fastest time for 10 kilometers: 1 hour, 22 min, 2 sec (Aug 2001, US)
9. Underwater rope jumping – Most in one hour: 900 (Aug 2001, US)
10. Skipping (like children without a rope) – Fastest time for a marathon (26.2 miles): 5 hours, 55 min, 13 sec (Aug 2003, Canada)

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For further reading: http://www.ashrita.com