took to world record-breaking in
2004 after being inspired by a record-setting rally
driver in Kenya. What began as a hobby soon escalated
into an active publicity pursuit. Today, he promotes the
work of social and environmental causes. For these
purposes, the most fitting game plans are chosen; then
world titles are attempted and frequently created.
Wall Street Journal:
Shaking On It in Times Square
If you would like regular exposure from Alastair's activities, become his Sustaining Sponsor:
- A range of attempts annually
- Your brand in multiple media
- Distribute your own media releases
- Receive product endorsements
Behind every world record attempt is the expertise of professionals in their field.
Their success underpins Alastair's.
|They are listed here|
Longest handshake (shared): 9 hours 19 minutes
This is the story behind our Guinness World Record™ for the Longest handshake.
This, friends, is the epitome of monotony. It's
also a mental challenge requiring dedication. If ever anyone said I've
got too much time on my hands, it could be most applicable to this
world record attempt. For anyone watching, it was the most simple
undertaking. All we did was shake and shake and shake.
I was managing a
series of world record attempts with a charity. During the planning
phase, I was asked what I'd like to do. When I expressed great interest
in this particular attempt, I was casting my mind back a few years.
When I first began breaking world records, a friend and I had given
this one a go. We'd stood out on the road verge and spent our afternoon
bobbing our clasped hands up and down. But, being new on the world
records scene, that attempt went not much further than my office. Since
then, however, I've learned a lot about how to manage attempts. After
wondering about the logistics of making a concerted effort, I wanted to
proceed. The charity gave me a lot of help in doing so.
It wasn't that I needed to practise as much as
meet my handshaker to
decide on a strategy. When he walked toward me for the first time, I
gulped. This guy – although only about three quarters my age, was
large. The muscles pressed against his shirt, and his limbs were bulked
up. Obviously, this young man – a radio presenter - was very sporty.
And there was me: thin as a reed, shorter than he was, and with no more
muscle on my chest than needed to keep the bones in place. My legs were
lanky and my arms even spindlier. The combination just didn't seem
right. But we had to make it work. My handshaker beamed and threw his
right hand forward to shake mine. It felt as if I'd been caught in some
machinery: the power in this man's arm was vibrating my entire body.
So, we didn't shake hands. Rather, this man shook the whole of me by my
Right, I wondered. Within a minute we had
introduced ourselves and got
off to a light-hearted start. He was personable; thank goodness because
I'd be physically fixed to him for the best part of a long day. Perhaps
he thought the same of me, because we were getting along well. Plans
were discussed and we agreed to arrange our assigned duties before the
set date. It seemed both my handshaker and I believed we were about to
have a great time. But we discovered differently.
Weeks later, my
handshaker and I met again in the
early morning on the
edge of a large city square. The local craft market was about to begin
and vendors were laying out goods in their stalls, packed side by side
along one perimeter. My handshaker's radio station vehicle was parked
alongside the shade covering which had been temporarily erected, and
electric cables had been laid out for the video camera. Several others
associated with this world record attempt were ambling around,
preparing or just waiting for my instructions. To one side, my
handshaker and I followed through the motion of gripping each other's
hand, flexing our forearm muscles should we need to relieve pain caused
by repetition, and joking about what we'd let ourselves in for. Passing
traffic was slow and heavy. Drivers looked over curiously to see the
preparations, and I thought this might be the most activity they'd see
from me all day. Within an hour, the team was ready. Having processed
the required admin, my handshaker and I walked up to one another,
waited for the timekeeper to give the signal, and our right arm reached
for the other's.
Our hands locked firmly. My handshaker took the
lead, as planned. Each
time our gripped hands fell, he'd raise them using his own muscles more
than I'd use mine. We'd alternate throughout the day, and the
transition would be so smooth it would be unnoticeable. There was no
way we could avoid such tactics, since the minimum qualifying
handshaking time was eight hours. We shook hands as if following an
automated routine. The novelty of the first few dozen shakes wore off
very fast and doing so soon became an uninteresting self-inflicted
effort. My opposite was rattling my body with every downward stroke of
his arm. There was no way I could pull away, as one is inclined to do,
since our world record attempt would then be nullified. The solution?
To get chatting.
Well, since our minds could run the handshaking
in an automated
fashion, there wasn't anything to do but talk. Let me tell you, by
early evening, my handshaker and I knew each other pretty well. We
discussed every social topic imaginable from entertainment and politics
to family history and the state of the planet. Our banter went on for
hours. But then! We found very welcome company... a pair of air
hostesses left the market stalls and came to ask, puzzled, why we
couldn't stop shaking hands. My opposite and I suddenly developed a new
interest: women. Unfortunately, they had to leave for a flight a while
later. The ladies left my handshaker and I exactly as they'd found us:
locked together by our hands rising and falling in the same way they'd
been doing seemingly indefinitely. What could we interest ourselves
with next, we wondered?
One of the assistants came over to feed us both
water as if we were
babies, and hand-feed us a snack as best they could. Next, as is caused
by our physiology, my handshaker and I needed to free ourselves of
accumulated liquid. To do this without breaking any world record rules,
we had to think carefully of a plan. So we forgot about the market
alongside us, the beautiful women, the tasty snacks and all sorts of
other things. The most important question now was: how are we going to
Both of us had been to the bathroom before we
started, but after nearly
six hours, we simply had to go again. My handshaker began twisting his
legs into all kinds of acrobatic positions, no doubt to control his
bladder until we could devise a plan that wouldn't contravene the
rules. I too was doing an awful lot of muscle pinching. The only way
was for one of the witnesses – thankfully a male – to accompany us. Off
we went, crab-walking to the public bathroom, but never missing a
handshake stroke. In tow, the witness looked bashful having to follow.
I can now tell you from first-hand experience that it is possible for a
man to urinate and close his zip before half-heartedly washing the one
hand with itself, and producing only a little mess, while shaking hands
non-stop and being observed by a third party for the purposes of
documenting the account.
This was very funny to everyone back at the
shade covering. Then it was our turn to relax and laugh. The rules
stipulated a short break every eight hours, which was then. My
handshaker and I walked away from each other like opposing magnets, all
in good humour of course. But almost too soon, it was time to reunite.
Oh no, we joked, as our arms pushed our hands forward into that locked
position we were so used to by then. The mind-numbing routine
continued: up, down, up, down... Had we become permanent fixtures at
the square, honouring the almighty handshake, or would it ever end?
course it all ended. My equal and I were very, very pleased once we had
settled on a time to break the link for good. The decision was mutual,
but not at first. I wanted to push my limits ever further, although my
handshaker felt differently. So we reached a compromise: we'd shake
away another 15 minutes. And boy, did that last quarter of an hour go
by slowly. Yet, the entire team looked satisfied at our efforts, as
were we. Mind you, our hands were rather tired. For some time, I
thought I'd given myself repetitive strain injury. My fear was
unjustified though, because the stiffness faded a number of days later.
When I received the world record certificate in
the mail, I was the
proudest fellow I knew.