Fame comes and goes, but the record for most balloons inflated nasally in three minutes (28) can last a long time. Having your name in the Guinness World Records, a product that organically grew out of weird bar bets, is not only an honor, it is also a more achievable goal that rising to power or starting a game at Madison Square Garden. The key, according to Mike Janela, one of the U.S. judges who adjudicate record attempts, is to have a plan.
"We get 1,000 applications a week," Janela says. "That's everyone from a kid saying he has the coolest dog to someone going for a speed record." He adds that only 2 percent of world record inquiries end up earning the official Guinness certificate of approval. Being the best in the world at something is apparently harder than it looks.
We asked Janela for his help understanding the process of making a record-setting attempt and sending proof to the judges. He gave us a quick guide to getting our name in the book.
Do Your Research
"Looking at past records in the book gives you an idea of what has already been attempted," advises Janela. The website is also a great resource for finding milestones you might be able to pass. Either way, knowing what has already been achieved allows you to settle on an existing path or confirm that the path you've chosen is completely new. The most common attempts for individuals tend to involve at-home fitness, such as the most miles lunging or push-ups with a 20-lb pack on the back. Larger groups like schools and churches tend to target mass participation events, such as the largest assembly of people dressed as superheroes or simultaneously jump roping.
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