Idaho man says he completed his goal of breaking 52 world records in a single year
David Rush of Idaho set out to break one Guinness World Record every week of 2021.
The challenge was simultaneously no small feat and nothing out of the ordinary for Rush, an author, speaker and entertainer who describes himself on his website as "one of the most prolific Guinness World Records title holders on the planet."
"He is the world's fastest juggler, the world's slowest juggler, and has the record for most bowling balls juggled, most consecutive ax juggling catches, and longest duration balancing a bicycle on the chin," according to his bio, which says he's broken more than 150 records since 2015.
Rush has been promoting STEM for more than a decade through talks with students, educators and corporations. He told NPR over email that his record-a-week mission aims to inspire students who struggle with those disciplines by showing difficult things are possible.
"STEM is hard and when a student struggles with science or fails at math they may say they can never be an engineer," he wrote. "In 2015 I broke my first GWR to create a tangible example for folks to show that if you set your mind to a goal, believe in yourself, and pursue it with a passion, you can accomplish nearly anything. Going on to break an average of 1 a week is an extension of that to inspire kids to pursue hard STEM subjects and anyone to pursue anything that's hard."
Rush started the year off on Jan. 4 by stacking wet bars of soap with his neighbor, he explained in a blog post last week. From there, his missions included bouncing ping pong balls, catching fruit and marshmallows in his mouth, juggling and doing various tasks very quickly.
"I crossed the 200 Guinness World Records broken milestone with one of the 5 hardest for the most kiwis sliced in one minute using a samurai sword while standing on a swiss ball," he wrote. "I revisited my very first record – longest duration blindfolded juggling, this time extended the record from 22 minutes 7 seconds to 32 minutes 7 seconds."
Some of his tasks involved partners. Rush said he broke a couple of records with his wife, and put a bow on the year by wrapping his neighbor in wrapping paper with the help of an accomplice, becoming the fastest pair to do so.
Rush also posted a video compilation of some of those moments:
A spokesperson for Guinness World Records confirmed over email that Rush achieved a total of 43 Guinness World Records titles over the 52 weeks of 2021.
Rush explained that the rest of the attempts have been submitted to Guinness for review. The official verification process involves creating an application for a new record, having Guinness approve it, actually making the attempt and then submitting the evidence to the organization for review, which he said can take up to three months.
He said he currently has 10 or 11 that are pending review, and likes to have "a couple of extra in case any are not approved for any reason."
In the meantime, here are the world records he can officially add to his resume:
A version of this story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.
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