Ashrita the king of the Guinness Book of Records
How many people haven't dreamt of an entry in the Guinness Book of Records? To break even just one record is mostly an insurmountable obstacle. Only a view people are willing to take upon them this strain. An exceptional case in this respect surely is the American extreme athlete Ashrita Furman, member of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team. He has set a total of 93 Guinness Book records, holds today 26 records and is still not tired of expanding his series.
What is driving this 50-year old New Yorker to do such crazy records as "running with a milk bottle on the head", "push an orange with the nose for a mile over the asphalt" or "standing on a ball for more then three hours"? Ashrita says: "A record in the Guinness Book represents the best performance a person has ever done in this area. Because so many millions of people read the Guinness Book, it has a very high rating."
Although each one of his records is in his special way exceptional, one thing seems sure: The word "impossible" is missing in Ashrita's dictionary. Ashrita loves challenge, is very creative in it and likes to have fun doing it and bringing other people to laugh. For most of the performances extreme concentration, stamina and skilfulness is needed.
His talent is though not born, for in his young years he was better known for his knowledge from the books as for his athletic qualities. Only through the practice of Yoga and meditation his athletic capacity came to the fore. Ashrita has to work hard for his success. Nevertheless an inner strength is constantly driving him to new challenges and top performances. His last three world bests show very clear with how much earnest and enthusiasm Ashrita is practicing his passion: In Xiamen (China) he covered 5 miles on one meter high stilts in 39 minutes and 55 seconds. One month later he managed one mile on a bouncing ball in 15 minutes and 3 seconds. This also was a world record. Those who believed that now the health food store owner would run out of air, was thinking wrong. Already beginning of April Ashrita travelled to the pyramids of Egypt to accomplish another top performance. In the suitcase there was just a billiard cue. Three months he trained very hard with this stick for his new record. Right away at his first attempt he managed at "balancing a billiard cue on the index finger" 11,3 kilometres walking. Obviously Ashrita would do this in front of the pyramids. He likes it to accomplish top performances on historically important spots, this gives him additional inspiration and strength. No wonder he performed already on all seven continents world bests.
We are still looking for the reason, why he is breaking so many records, why he is filling up his spare time with these seemingly dispensable records. Ashritas comment to this: "I try to show others that our human capacity is unlimited, if we believe in our selves." And further: "It's like there is a certain standard and if you break a record you set a new standard. You have lifted the record to a higher level." Through this explanation we can see his record performances in a new light. And so we run immediately to the book store to by the latest Guinness Book. Who knows, perhaps there is a new category for us in there.
And what are Ashrita's plans? Though he still owes us the answer to this question, one is for sure: Also in the time to come we will hear something about this record enthusiast.
For those who would like to know more about Ashrita, please go to www.ashrita.com.