100-year-old sets cycling world record in France

Frenchman Robert Marchand entered the cycling record books in the one-hour event on Friday, three months after celebrating his 100th birthday. Marchand rode 24.251 kilometres around an indoor track to establish the first-ever hour performance in the 100-years-plus category. “I could have gone faster but I didn’t want to,” Marchand, who was given clearance by his cardiologist in France before making the attempt, told reporters at the International Cycling Union (UCI) track in Aigle where he spent a week preparing. (Source: Reuters)

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First European woman completed 3100 mile race in New York

As the first European woman and the second woman of the world Surasa Mairer from Austria finished the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race (4988 km), the longest certified foot race in the world. Only 10 runners dared  to run the race in 2011, which is organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team. The 52-year-old secretary from Vienna completed the ultra race on a 0.5488 mile course (883 meters) around a block in the borough Queens of New York in 53 days 15 hours 54 minutes and 25 seconds. The female runner consumed 10,000 calories per day, but lost 6 lbs (3 kg) of weight and used up 7 pairs of running shoes. Surasa is also the first woman who ran a marathon backwards. The today 55-year-old Suprabha Beckjord from Washington is the only other woman which completed this race. The American ran twelve editions of the race and her best time was 49 days 14 hours 30 minutes and 54 seconds. Up to now only 30 runners have completed the race since it was founded by athlete and peace visionary Sri Chinmoy in 1997. In 2002 Surasa Mairer broke two long-standing records for women, setting new world bests at 1000 km (7days+16:08:37) and 700 miles (8days+15:34:13). In 2001 she shattered the women’s world record for 1300 miles by completing the distance in 17 days 21 hours, nearly an hour and a half under the record. For more information please go to www.3100.ws. (Photograph by Anastasia Lebedeva)

On Sunday, June 12, at 6:00 a.m. the world’s longest certified race began with ten starters – nine men and one woman.  Eight finished the 3100 Mile distance within the time allotted.  For the first time in the 15-year history of the race, due to the extreme heat this year, Day 42 was an enforced rest day, which still counted toward the finish times.  Consequently, the end of the race period was extended by one day to midnight, Thursday, August 4th.  Finland’s Ashprihanal Aalto, who previously completed the 3100 Mile Race ten times, was  cruising to a personal best, just a “few hundred miles” from the goal, when the heat wave came. He had to surrender to the weather and ended in third place behind two first-time entrants, both from the Ukraine.  Austria’s Surasa Mairer is the second woman ever to enter the 3100 Mile Race, finishing the distance this year on her second attempt and setting a new women’s masters world record.

The men’s world record of 41 days + 08:16:29 was set in 2006 by Madhupran Wolfgang Schwerk, GERMANY, who was then age 50.  Suprabha Beckjord of the USA set the women’s world record of 49 days + 14:30:54 in 1998 at age 42.  Beckjord completed 13 consecutive 3100 Mile Races from 1997 to 2009.  This year’s female winner, Surasa Mairer of AUSTRIA, surpassed by more than three days Beckjord’s master’s record of 56 days + 17:51:22 set in 2008. The sponsoring Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team (SCMT) was founded in 1977 and soon began offering running races for the public.  The SCMT has sponsored multiday races in the New York area for the last two decades.  In 1985 the SCMT offered its first 1000 Mile Race in Flushing Meadows Park, the first of its kind in this hemisphere in this century. The founder of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, Sri Chinmoy, passed away in October 2007.  The 80th anniversary of his birth in 1931 will be this coming August 27th.  In the spiritual community in India where he grew up, he excelled in soccer and volleyball, and was the top-ranked sprinter. During his late teens he was also a decathlon champion.  In the 1970s and 1980s, he was an active long-distance runner, completing many marathons, ultra-marathons and shorter races. Sri Chinmoy practiced sports not only for the joy of it, and to keep the body fit, but also because he saw sports as a natural vehicle for expressing his philosophy of self-transcendence which means going beyond personal limits and reaching new levels of inner and outer perfection.  The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team dedicates this event and all others around the world to his memory and hopes that his inspiration and high standards will always be kept at the forefront of all its endeavors.

Ashrita Furman presented Largest Seesaw of the World

It is 79 feet 2 inches (24.13 m) long and although you find it usually on a playground, it might be not recommended for children to use this record apparatus: the largest see-saw of the world. If you sit on the side that is up, you are 11 feet 7 inches (3.53 m) above the ground. With the giant teeter-totter Ashrita Furman made a new entry into the Guinness Book of Records. On Friday afternoon in the borough Queens of New York City the 55-year-old American health food store manager presented the giant teeter-totter during a birthday anniversary. 83 helpers were needed to carry the wooden construction from two blocks away to the anniversary function. He dedicated the see-saw to Indian born poet, composer and peace visionary Sri Chinmoy, who would have become 79 years on 27 August 2010. Ashrita Furman said: “As an expression of gratitude we celebrate Sri Chinmoy’s 79th birthday with a 79 feet long see-saw, which gives happiness to children small and big. Sri Chinmoy himself was such a childlike, happy person and he inspired me to set records with his weightlifting world records. His philosophy is that through happiness we can have peace.” It took Furman and his team of 15 people 7 days to construct the teeter-totter weighing almost 13,000 pounds (5900 kg) without the stand. The supersized apparatus works like the ones on the playground. “200 guests enjoyed the ride on the see-saw and smiled. I had to smile so much that it even hurt”, Furman, holder of 122 current Guinness World Records, including the record for the most records, said.

Ashrita Furman has been breaking Guinness World Records since 1979. His first entry in the Guinness Book he achieved by completing 27,000 jumping jacks. Since then he has broken 299 records on all seven continents, including racing against a Yak in Mongolia to set the mile sack-racing record, doing underwater Aqua Pogo for 3 hours 40 minutes in the Amazon River in Peru and bouncing the fastest mile on a kangaroo ball along the Great Wall of China. As a teenager Furman got inspired by Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy of self-transcendence. Indian born Sri Chinmoy himself set many records, such as lifting elephants, airplanes and trucks with a calf-raise machine and composing 21,000 songs in his lifetime. Furman attributes his success at breaking records to meditation, which he practices daily for 30 minutes in the morning and in the evening. Meditation helps him keep his childlike spirit and his  mental and physical strength which is needed to continuously set world records. Since Ashrita Furman started 31 years ago, he never stopped setting world records which need a lot of serious preparation or training: “Going beyond your every day capacity is such a fulfilling feeling. The day I break a record I’m just happy the whole day,” he says.

The Guinness Book of Records is published in more than 100 countries and 25 languages and is one of the highest-selling books. About 120 million copies were sold worldwide since it’s first publication in 1955.

Sarah Outen: first woman to row across the Indian Ocean

Sarah-by-René-SoobaroyenAfter four months battling 100ft waves, searing heat and raging storms, Sarah Outen was just hours from becoming the first woman to row solo across the Indian Ocean. But just a few hundred metres from Mauritius – the finishing line for her 4,000 mile record breaking adventure – the British biology teacher encountered her biggest challenge. She was hit by 40ft crashing waves that capsized her boat dashing her against jagged coral reefs and dragging her underwater. “I should have died,” Miss Outen, 24, said. “I was terribly afraid for my life. I remember rolling and rolling. At one point I was dragged along the reefs under the boat. My foot is ripped to shreds and I have got bruises on my legs and arms. The waves were breaking hard and fast against the island’s steep coastal shelf. It was almost impossible to steer. Emergency communications equipment was washed away. I knew that if I failed to get back into the boat and make it to the safety of the reef itself under my own power, the row might be classed as incomplete. Worse still, having rowed all this way, I wasn’t about to ask for a rescue when I was just 300 metres from the entrance to the bay.” In the pitched dark on Monday night, she fired distress flares and was eventually guided to land where she stepped into the record books. “It’s been an incredible journey,” she said from her hotel room on the island. “I was swinging between laughing and smiling about it all, and bursting into tears with sorrow that the whole thing was about to come to an end.”

Miss Outen is the youngest woman to row across any ocean. She is only the eighth woman to have rowed across an ocean solo. Of nine previous solo attempts to cross the Indian Ocean, only three have been successful, all of those were made by men. Miss Outen set off from the west coast of Australia in February, but her first attempt was thwarted when she had to abandon the trip when the boat’s electrical system failed. She had spent months preparing for the trip and ensuring she knew how to repair not only the boat, called “Serendipity”, but also its navigational and communications equipment. She lived on dried foods that she added desalinated sea water to and, if the seas were not too rough, she would boil up to make a hot meal. She had also packed 4 litres of sun cream. Her daily treat was one of the 500 chocolate bars she had packed for the journey. However, she could not resist breaking into ration packs to sate her appetite for the sugary food. “I ran out of chocolate 10 days before the end of the journey. It was my fault. It was annoying but strangely funny.”

Miss Outen, from Rutland, has raised more than £11,000 for the Arthritis Care Charity. She dedicated the trip to her father who died suddenly while she was studying at Oxford University. She had fixed a photograph of him in the cabin. Miss Outen’s mother Helen, added: “At long last I have been able to have a real hug from Sarah rather than a virtual one on the phone. “The last time I saw her was in February, when I waved goodbye at the airport as she set off for Australia. It scares me to think of my little girl completely alone at sea being battered by huge waves, but she has been so strong and determined. I am immensely proud of the way she has been so determined in her efforts. She has been a real inspiration to many people, both old and young, in completing such an impressive feat.” (Source: TimesOnline/Photo by René Soobaroyen)