Ashrita Furman

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Ashrita Furman
Furman in San Francisco setting a record for the fastest mile balancing a baseball bat.
Born Keith Furman
(1954-09-16) September 16, 1954 (age 62)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Occupation health food store manager
Years active since 1979
Home town New York City

Ashrita Furman (born Keith Furman, September 16, 1954, Brooklyn, New York) is a Guinness World Records record-breaker. As of 2017, Furman has set more than 600 official Guinness Records and currently holds 200 records,[1] including the record for holding the most Guinness world records.[2] He has been breaking records since 1979.[2][3]

Life and records[edit]

Early life[edit]

Furman was born in 1954. He 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.[4]

That all changed when, as a teenager, he became interested in spirituality and in 1970 became a devout follower of the spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy.[5]

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.” [6] Around this time, he changed his first name to Ashrita ("protected by God" [7] in Sanskrit).[8][9]

Ashrita at the Great Wall of China in January 2005 breaking the Guinness record for the fastest mile on a kangaroo ball.

First record[edit]

In 1979, Furman set his first official record by doing 27,000 jumping jacks.[2] 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 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 be sick.[10]

Records around the world[edit]

Furman has managed a health food store in Jamaica, Queens, New York City,[11] New York since 1982. He is also a tour manager for his meditation group and is therefore able to travel extensively. As of 2014, Furman has set records in 40 countries. He completed his goal of breaking a record in all seven continents when he set the mile hula hoop record at Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in the Australian desert in 2003.[12] 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 1982.

Furman breaking the record for balancing on a Swiss ball (2 hours 16 mins 2 seconds) at Stonehenge, July 22, 2003.

Creating new records[edit]

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-foot (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.[13] In April 2009 Furman became the first person to hold 100 Guinness World Records at once.[14]

Furman breaking the record for underwater cycling the longest distance (1.8 mi.) at Coimbra, Portugal, September 2011.[15]

Partial list of recent records[edit]

Event Record Location and date
Highest mountain climbed on stilts[16] 9,398 ft. Mount Baden-Powell, California, August 2011
Underwater rope jumping, most jumps in one hour [16] 1,608 São Paulo, Brazil, March 2012
Balancing a Running Electric Lawnmower on Chin, longest duration [16] 3 min. 1.34 sec. Panaji, India, November 2013
Jumping on the shortest usable pogo stick [16] 23.74 in. Zlin, Czech Republic, December 2013
Walking on two shovels as stilts, fastest mile [16] 24  min. 0.25 sec. New York, NY, March 2014

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ashrita Furman, Mr. Versatility". 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  2. ^ a b c "Guinness World Records 2015". 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2014-10-09. 
  3. ^ "New York News, Local Video, Traffic, Weather, NY City Schools and Photos – Homepage". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  4. ^ "For a Record Seeker, No Idle Day". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  5. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (12 June 2003). "Got Milk? Hula Hoop? It's a Record!; He's Guinness's King Of Strange Feats, All for Inner Peace". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Who Owns the Most Guiness [sic] World Records?". 2011-09-22. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  7. ^ "World champion record breaker Ashrita Furman aims to set another best in Brazil". The Telegraph. 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  8. ^ "What drives a Guinness World Record holder?". Radio Times. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  9. ^ Mincer, Jilian (2010-11-18). "The Ultimate Guinness Record Is the Record for Records". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  10. ^ "Guinness Book of World Record Holder Ashrita Furman". SoundCloud. 
  11. ^ "Wild World Records". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  12. ^ "The world beater". The Age, Australia. 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  13. ^ ", 'World's biggest pencil' draws in a crowd". Metro (British newspaper). 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  14. ^ Guinness World Records 2014. ISBN 978-1-908843-15-9. 
  15. ^ "Farthest Distance Cycling Underwater". 2011-09-22. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  16. ^ a b c d e "'Current Records'". Retrieved 2016-08-31. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]