In 2020, one of the outcomes of COVID-19 was that we switched from in-person to virtual races. Instead of heading off to locations around the world we had the opportunity of participating in these events virtually. I tackled a virtual 1,000km run across Tennessee, virtually climbed Mount Everest with my grandson Nathan, daughter Kristina and wife Sue and ran the virtual New York, Boston and London Marathons.
A week ago, I received a pleasant surprise ... A Guinness World Record (GWR) certificate. This was GWR #6 for, “The most users to run a remote marathon in 24 hours is 37,966 and was achieved by the Virgin Money London Marathon (UK) on 4 October 2020."
Now, I have a long history with Guinness World Records. In 2010, after completing 250 marathons in Marathon Quest 250 I had set up “Quest for Kids," an initiative to complete 10 Quests in five years and raise one million dollars for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. I was looking for an event to follow up Marathon Quest 250 and had put out a call for help on Facebook to see if anyone had any ideas. A week later I heard back from Julie Arnold, Event Coordinator for Netball Alberta. Julie thought it would be a great idea to set a GWR for the longest game of Netball. I agreed with her and in mid-September 2011 a group of 16 participants played netball for 61 hours in a gym in Calgary.
One of the players on Netball Quest 61 was Shawn Cable. Shawn had played for the Calgary Roughnecks and he suggested the longest game of Lacrosse. In late April 2012, 42 participants played 24 hours straight in Lacrosse Quest 24 for GWR #2. Next up was indoor soccer. I chatted with Lucy Lovelock from the Cochrane Rangers. We both love soccer and so TriOil – Soccer Quest 42 was born. In early October 2012 two teams lined up on the turf at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) and 42 hours later GWR#3 was set.
GWR #4 was set in mid-January 2013 and it was my favorite. Hockey Quest 500 was a collaboration with Reid Kimmett and the Kimmett Cup. In total 374 participants played 10 minutes each in a hockey game that lasted a total of 9 hours and again this was held at SLSFSC. The cool thing was that half the players were aged between six and 12 years old. During the last event of “Quests for Kids”, GWR #5 was set on October 3rd 2014 at Dublin Heights Elementary and Middle School in Toronto. This was for “The most players (160) in a Ball Hockey event”.
Finally, the certificate for the London Marathon GWR #6 has arrived. In fact, another runner from the Cochrane Red Rock Running Club also became a GWR holder for this event. Huge congratulations Sue Wall.
So, it’s almost seven years to the day between the setting of GWR #5 and #6. The question is ... Will it be another seven years before GWR #7 is attempted and what would it be?
© 2021 Martin Parnell