Ashrita Furman groans as he tries to whirl a 17 foot hoop around his waist. Spinning around, the huge circle of steel looks like it should chop him in half. After several spins, he collapses to the ground exhausted. He has just set the world record for 'Largest Hula Hoop', as well as the record for the number of records held by an individual: 101. "I think it was the sense of perfection, the being the best in the world at something, that appealed to me"
, says Ashrita, his face lit up with a smile.
While some may look at the triviality of many of the records broken the record-holders are almost religious in their faith in what they do. "I believe man is born with two major responsibilities. One is to challenge nature and the other is to challenge ourselves."
"I trained early in the morning as I didn't want anyone to see me."
From an inauspicious start Michal became the record holder for Joggling, juggling while jogging. Years of training at 4 in the morning brought him the world record, one he thought he would hold for a long time, until he got this phone call. "How do you feel about Zach Warren breaking your record?"
But instead of being disappointed Michal was excited by the competition. Instantly Michal challenged Zach to a duel. Ever since they have been trading records.
And sometimes it all becomes too much, "I just want to go home now"
, says George Hood, Stationary Spin Cycle Marathon record holder near the end of his 111 hour record attempt. There are many uplifting reason to break records, but for George there are also painful ones. "Whatever I've done, it's never been good enough for my parents"
. But at times like these all motivation is useful.
The most amazing thing about this band of committed record-breakers, they will always come back to setting records, no matter what happens or what anyone says. "That's the most amazing thing, this is what he is really into"
, Steve, the grape-catcher's brother says. Even Ashrita isn't stopping at 101, "I'm never going to stop breaking records. I'd love to die doing a Guinness record."
Official Selection, Thessaloniki Film Festival, 2011
Official Selection, Big Sky Documentary Festival, 2011