On November 15, the Impossibility Challenger festival of record breaking took place in Berlin. Event organiser Abhinabha Tangerman describes his thoughts:
THIS YEAR I HAD the opportunity to become involved in one of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team's special events: Impossibility Challenger. I had been to this record-breaking festival for the last time in 2009, when I put on and off 239 pairs of socks in half an hour and also ran a mile while simultaneously kicking a soccer ball—for me two amazing personal records!
When Subarnamala, the previous director, asked me if I would like to organize the event this year, supported our volunteers in Berlin, I said yes. I am writing this report exactly one day after it happened. My voice has completely gone from all the stress of organizing, but my heart is full of joy at the beautiful day we had on Sunday November 15th.
SHEER HUMAN POWER
We had close to forty record applications, but then 17 record-breaking hopefuls cancelled. Worst of all, Subarnamala — who was going to attempt a World Record herself— fell sick one week before the event. She had been the main organizer for the past 13 years with a ton of experience. All of a sudden I had to take over her tasks. Stress levels soared. But with a great team of helpers and servers, we pulled through.
Record-breaking day started with a light drizzle—which only got heavier; so our 12 outdoor records took place in pouring rain. But the bad weather couldn’t dampen our spirits. We witnessed Viharin’s brother Radek pull a bus filled with disciples weighing 13,257 kilos a distance of 20 meters. It was a very special feeling sitting in a bus that was moved by sheer human power! Radek’s 16-year-old son—also called Radek—pulled the same bus without passengers, weighing 10,617 kilos for the same distance. A strongman family!
One of the highlights was Samalya’s record attempt at running the fastest mile while wearing swim fins. The current record was 5:48 min. and Samalya had hardly trained—which I had scolded him mercilessly about the previous day. Whether it was the scolding, the eager crowd egging him on or his proud mom and dad who had showed up to watch, Samalya mustered all his will-power and smashed the old record by clocking 5:33 min. over four laps—all in pouring rain and with hardly any specific training! We are so proud of him. His feet, covered with blisters, were less than happy.
More amazing disciple feats followed. We know that Karteek is an excellent swimmer with 13 successful Channel crossings, but few people know that he is a great comedian as well. His world record attempt at telling the most jokes in one hour was another highlight. The record stood at 550 jokes—no joke! The Guinness rules are quite strict—you have to tell all the jokes without a script and each joke has to get a laugh from the audience. Karteek blew everyone’s mind by telling 594 jokes, of which 583 got an audible laugh from the audience. A new Guinness World Record!
Unfortunately Ashrita Furman the holder of the most Guinness Records, ran into some bad luck. He arrived intent on setting a new record for breaking the most wooden arrows with his neck in one minute. You can’t carry arrows as hand luggage, so Ashrita had checked them in. But his luggage failed to show up at Berlin airport; it was still in Frankfurt! We managed to find some other arrows—no mean feat on a Sunday—but they were too thick. Ashrita missing his record was a little cloud on an otherwise sunny inner day. But he was happy to watch all the records being broken, and the other record-breakers received tremendous joy and inspiration from his presence.
The third record from an SCMT member was performed by Jendrik, from Berlin. Jendrik performed 4,831 ‘footbag stalls’, which means flicking a hacky sack from one foot to the other without dropping it. He’s a former hacky sack champion and even competed in the World Cup. Jendrik also was a tremendous help in the organization of the event.
I can’t begin to say what a joy and satisfaction it was to be part of Impossibility Challenger. And we’ll be back next year with a new edition. If you are inspired, I strongly urge you to try a Guinness World Record yourself! If Samalya’s and Karteek’s reports are true, you’re in for tremendous joy and fulfilment. You can find plenty of inspiration on the Guinness website www.guinnessworldrecords.com, so just pick a challenge, start training and see you next year!