Furman in San Francisco setting a record for the fastest mile balancing a baseball bat.
September 16, 1954 |
Brooklyn, New York
|Occupation||health food store manager|
|Years active||since 1979|
|Home town||New York City|
Ashrita Furman (born, September 16, 1954, Brooklyn, New York) is a Guinness World Records record-breaker. As of 2014, Furman has set 513 official Guinness Records and currently holds 179 standing records, including the record for holding the most Guinness world records. He has been breaking records since 1979.
Life and records
Furman was born in 1954, the same year the Guinness Book of Records was conceived and the year Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile. Furman was fascinated with the Guinness Book of World Records as a child but never thought he could ever break a record, since he was very nonathletic. He grew up in the Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood in Queens, and attended Jamaica High School.
That all changed when, as a teenager, Furman became interested in spirituality and in 1970 became a devout follower of the spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy. Sri Chinmoy inspired Furman to participate in a 24-hour bicycle race in New York City's Central Park in 1978. With only two weeks' training, Furman tied for third place, cycling 405 miles (652 km). He later described the experience, “It was one of the most profound moments of my life. As I climbed off my bicycle, I realized that it wasn't my body that had cycled for 24 hours, but my inner Spirit. By using meditation I was able to connect with an inexhaustible energy which we all have but rarely use. At that moment I decided to attempt breaking Guinness records to inspire others to connect with their own indomitable inner strength.”  Around this time, Furman changed his first name to Ashrita ("protected by God"  in Sanskrit).
In 1979, Furman set his first official record by doing 27,000 jumping jacks. In 1986, Furman invented and set the record for underwater pogo stick jumping and introduced it on Good Morning America on April Fools Day. That same year Furman began setting records at historic landmarks by doing forward rolls along the entire 12 ¼ mile route of Paul Revere's Ride in Massachusetts and jumping 11 ½ miles up and down the foothills of Mount Fuji on a pogo stick. While breaking the record for distance traveled via forward rolls, Furman was only allowed to stop in order to throw up.
Records around the world
Furman has managed a health food store in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, New York since 1982. He is also a tour manager for his meditation group and is therefore able to travel extensively. Furman had set records in more than 30 countries and completed his goal of breaking a record in all 7 continents when he set the mile hula hoop record at Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in the Australian desert in 2003. Furman has also set records at such famous landmarks as the Egyptian pyramids (distance pool cue balancing), Stonehenge (standing on a Swiss ball), the Eiffel Tower (most sit ups in an hour), the Great Wall of China (hopping on a kangaroo ball), Borobudur (Fastest time to run a mile while balancing a milk bottle on the head) and Angkor Wat (jumping rope on a pogo stick). While in China, Furman broke the record for running 8 km (4.97 mi) on stilts in the fastest time (39 min. 56 sec.), a record which had stood since 1892.
Creating new records
Furman has also been a pioneer in setting records in several new activities including landrowing. Using a converted indoor rower with wheels and brakes, Furman rowed 1,500 miles (2,400 km) in 16 days in Bali in 1991. Furman also developed the sport of gluggling, underwater juggling, which he did for 48 minutes at Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World in Auckland, New Zealand in 2002 and distance sack racing, which Furman did for a mile while racing against a yak in Mongolia in 2007. On January 30, 2008, Furman unveiled his giant pencil – 76 feet (23 m) long, 22,000 pounds (with 4,000 solid pounds of Pennsylvania graphite). The pencil was built in three weeks as a birthday gift for teacher Sri Chinmoy on 27 August 2007. Longer than the 65 feet (20 m) pencil outside the Malaysia HQ of stationers Faber-Castell, it was transported from Queens, New York, to the City Museum in St. Louis.
“ I'm trying to show others that our human capacity is unlimited if we can truly believe in ourselves. ”— Ashrita Furman
Partial list of recent records
|Record number||Event||Record||Location and date|
|283||Juggling on a pogo stick, furthest distance ||4 mi., 30 ft.||Easter Island, January 2010|
|303||Balancing eggs on end, most simultaneously ||888||New York, June 2010|
|368||Climbing the highest mountain on stilts ||9398 ft.||Mount Baden Powell, California, August 2011|
|404||Underwater rope jumping, most jumps in one hour ||1608||Brazil, March 2012|
|505||Balancing a Running Electric Lawnmower on Chin, longest duration ||3 min. 1.34 sec.||Panaji, India, November 2013|
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- "metro.co.uk, 'World's biggest pencil' draws in a crowd". Metro (British newspaper). 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- "Farthest Distance Cycling Underwater". guinnessworldrecords.com. 2011-09-22. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "'All Records'". ashrita.com. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
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