Sunday, January 16, 2011

Teams Compete To Break Longest Handshake Record

On January 14th, 2011 at Father Duffy Square in Times Square, New York City, four teams of some of the world’s greatest Guinness World Records ® holders will compete to break the world record for the “Longest Continuous Handshake.” Organized by three college students—Jason Soll, John-Clark Levin (Claremont McKenna College) and Joe Luchsinger (Baldwin Wallace College)—the competition serves to raise funds and awareness for charities including Teach for America, the Auckland Downs Syndrome Association and the Women’s Foundation of Nepal. Competition starting time will be announced on World’s Longest Handshake 2011 website, Claremont McKenna College is a major sponsor of the event.

International competitors include Nepal’s Rohit Timilsina, that country’s greatest world record breaker, and New Zealand’s Alastair Galpin, the second-greatest Guinness World Records record breaker of the last decade. Many of the teams, including Timilsina’s and Galpin’s, have broken the “Longest Continuous Handshake” record in the past.

“Whether climbing mountains in Alaska or solving problems through invention, I live to push the envelope,” said competitor and event co-organizer Joe Luchsinger (21, Bexley, Ohio, USA), who will compete on behalf of Teach For America along with partner Levin. Donations from the public will be received throughout the event, and the last team "shaking" wins a majority of the total proceeds for its charity.

In recent years, “Longest Continuous Handshake” has been one of Guinness World Records’ most hotly contested endurance categories. Teams from Nepal to New Zealand and from London to Sydney have all broken the record on behalf of various charities, but they have never coordinated their efforts in one location.

“The intensity and dedication that these people bring to what they do is inspiring, humbling and a little frightening,” said event co-organizer and competitor John-Clark Levin (21, Ojai, California, USA). In preparation for the competition, the competitors are using extreme training methods to shatter the world record: Galpin (36, Auckland, New Zealand) has been training by wrapping his arm in ice packs with the shirtsleeve cut off, and shaking a bottle of sandwich spread vigorously all day long, even in public. “This combination of world-class talent, charitable causes, and the highest foot-traffic venue in the world, creates performance incentives on par with the Olympics,” said Event Director Jason Soll. The current world record stands at 19 hours and 35 minutes. The new record is projected to be 24 to 48 hours, or longer.

"Claremont McKenna College's involvement with this event is a direct result of wanting to encourage the entrepreneurial, creative, ambitious and leadership efforts of our students," said the College's vice president for public affairs, Richard Rodner.

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