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
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Behind every world record attempt is the expertise of professionals in their field.
Their success underpins Alastair's.
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Most baseballs in hand palm-down: 4
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Most baseballs in hand palm-down.
Only four? That's right, folks:
only four. I don't mean to disappoint you, but I'd like
you to understand that even world record breakers face
the limits of having been born human.
When I first held a baseball in my
hand, I was surprised at how large they are. When I held
two, I wondered how best to grip them evenly. When I
tried three, my fingers slipped. I knew that holding
four wouldn't be easy for every person.
Once again, I was being driven by my
passion for word record-breaking. Whereas many people
may have thought this not to be worth persevering with,
I viewed things differently: what would I need to do to
turn this opportunity into my own world record. I began
planning. In fact, it wasn't so much that I needed to
'plan' in the traditional sense than that I'd need to
force my fingers to get this right. I borrowed some
baseballs and spent a lot of time with them.
Local media came along to see me
make several world record attempts that day. Of those
the presenter for the biggest radio station there took
an interest in, it was this. With a bunch of onlookers
waiting for me to produce something worth looking at, I
tipped out the baseballs in my bag. Once those involved
had read the rules, I handed out the notes and got my
helpers to gather round. The lead-up to this world
record was hardly impressive – I could have been about
to deliver the most boring school lesson. But the
children present perked up when they saw what I could
do. As I'd suspected, they walked forward to the table
to watch me more closely. So did the radio presenter and
others from various media.
Palm-up, I placed the first ball down.
Nobody said anything. I placed the second and still
nobody said a word. Then the third and fourth. “Yes, so
what!” I heard. Quickly, I spun my hand upside-down and
waited for the timekeeper to instruct my next move. The
balls all remained in place. My fingers gripped them
comfortably and I was relaxed. At the timekeeper's
command, I released the four baseballs and the radio
presenter immediately reached out for them.
I'd completed the admin I was
required to submit, so it was then time to see if the
others present would show any real interest. It might
have been because of the radio presenter and his
assistant that the youths and children tightened their
positions around the table, like magnets. One after the
other, almost every person there wanted to try and beat
me. I was quietly smiling as I admired the young ones'
positivity. The children each looked at me and at each
other with confidence, and gave it a try but couldn't. I
watched them slink away one by one. The radio presenter,
however, wasn't going to abandon the idea that easily.
Oh no. He and I discussed the method one would need to
succeed and we chatted briefly about the type of person
who might be able to. We agreed, they'd have really huge
Over the following week, news of my world record attempt was aired on radio. Local newspapers got in touch to write up stories about my activities. I obliged. Little did these journalists know that while they were focused on detailing what I'd just done, my mind was far in the future, planning bigger world record attempts.