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.
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Fastest time to peel and eat three kiwifruit:
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Fastest time to peel and eat three kiwifruit.
Kiwifruit aside, I didn't know I could slide such
huge items down my throat. Yet, I've proved I can do it: I can swallow
lumps the size of a large egg in just seconds. And not only one, but
three in quick succession. A world record adjudicator was to be present
for my attempt, and I simply had to succeed. That was months away,
though, and there was plenty of planning in the interim.
First, I needed a great deal of kiwifruit. Not
any variety would do. Each fruit needed to be partially ripe but not
what one would usually consider ripeness to be. The fruit would have to
be “peel-able” in the least possible time. The peels were to come off
in slabs, and definitely not break off in tapered lengths, since this
would dig chunks of flesh from that which I was meant to swallow. The
best type of peel, I discovered, was that with a minimal grainy
texture, although not completely smooth. Under no circumstances could I
work with a variety that contained stringy flesh, and ideally the
segments needed to squash but not separate once peeled. None of the
fruit could be radically ovoid, nor should it be symmetrical, for both
these shapes make handling considerably difficult under these
circumstances. It was also important that the fruit did not twist from
top to bottom, as can happen during growth. And finally, the stalk base
had to be slightly above the level of the top curve of each fruit so I
could grip it as needed in an instant.
As I stood in my local grocery shop, tenderly
caressing each kiwifruit on display, I was conscious of the staff and
other customers watching questioningly. I didn't say anything, but was
thinking these people would never ever guess what I was preparing for.
I could probably offer them each a gift as an incentive and they'd
still not guess. All I got was peculiar looks, and I sensed at least
one woman thinking, “you idiot, just grab a few and move along”. No, I
wasn't an idiot – she had no idea.
Having hand-picked a selection, I hurried home to
try my hand at this. As one would expect, on my first try, I spent many
times longer than required just peeling one of the fruits. With effort,
though, I gradually improved. It was a messy job. At every stage in the
process, I was making mistakes that would disqualify any attempt at the
world record. Fruits disintegrated, I wasn't peeling them completely,
and a lot of kiwifruit was ending up stuck to my cheeks. The flesh
squished out through my fingers sometimes, and I even shot some of the
peeled fruit across my kitchen counter by mistake. This was
unintentional, caused by my gripping the flesh too tightly as I raised
it to my mouth. The ratio of whole kiwifruit to that going down my
throat was something like 2:1. That simply wasn't good enough. I had to
eat and eat if I wanted to succeed. The good thing about all this was I
was definitely getting my fresh fruit intake. Pity it all tasted the
same, and even worse: there was hardly a split second to taste it
I was sick of eating kiwifruit. But world records
don't come to those who give up. I had to continue eating them on a
regular basis. During my planning, I'd arranged for plenty of kiwifruit
to be supplied by a fruit packing house. If I thought I'd seen enough
of the fruit by then, I was in for a surprise – box loads of the things
kept being delivered. Even though I ate to the best of my abilities, I
couldn't keep up. So I began donating excess kiwifruit to the local
neighbourhood, once I'd eaten as many as I could from each batch. That
was probably a good way to gain neighbourhood support for my antics, I
reasoned. Nevertheless, I had a job to do so I kept eating kiwifruit –
which I normally like, but which I'd come to find off-putting.
Eventually – and much to
my relief – the day to
attempt this world record arrived. When I got to the venue with the
adjudicator, I saw my worst nightmare. Alongside the designated table,
boxes and boxes of kiwifruit were stacked as high as my waist. Stupid
as it may seem, my first thought was that I was expected to eat them
all in record time! Realistically, though, I knew better. And, to
comfort me, I then spotted my competitor. We'd arranged that I'd speed
eat against this young man, meaning the world record could go to either
of us. The great thing about that was I wouldn't be the only one
wolfing down kiwifruit that morning. It was my pleasure to allow this
young fellow to show his own eating skill, and my attitude was that the
better of us deserved to win.
Once the necessities had been arranged, I was
seated alongside my junior. But we had to wait: the TV crew was testing
filming angles, distances to stand at and whatever else they check
before a shoot. The adjudicator calmly walked over and let me know he
was ready when we were. My rival was watching all proceedings with
great concentration, and I guessed he too was a little nervous. That
apprehension, I thought, would be gone the instant we began competing.
That moment had arrived. The adjudicator gave
final instructions, I stopped chatting to the young contender, and we
both focused on the fruits before us. At the split second the
adjudicator allowed us to move, our hands sped forward and bits of
kiwifruit peel went flying all over the table. I stuffed a whole one
into my mouth but my tongue was in the way. Oh no, get out of the way,
tongue! Several very strained guttural muscular movements got around
that problem. With my voice box rising and falling irregularly on the
front of my neck, the blob shot down into my chest like a greased ball
bearing. Smears of green jelly-like fruit pulp dribbled down my cheeks
and plopped onto the table. It would be fair to say I then reached out
for the next whole fruit with very greedy intentions.
My rival wasn't having as much fortune. Some of
the fruit was flattening and he was battling to keep it all in his
hand, needing to toss the lot to the back of his gaping mouth. Next
thing, he succeeded, and was onto the next. I could see this out of the
corner of my eye. As if by knee-jerk reaction, my hand movements became
a fraction faster. Down slid the second fruit and then the third. My
rival was speeding up and wasn't far behind me. Despite his best
efforts, it was too late.
The adjudicator clicked the stopwatch as he
called to us, and then stood silent for a moment, reading the screen.
Both of us looked embarrassingly gluttonous. We had kiwifruit flesh
covering our faces right up to our cheek bones. The slimy mess was on
our shirts and spread across the table. I'm sure there
must have been bits of peel strewn on the surrounding ground as well.
Both of us waited.
The adjudicator looked up, smiled, and congratulated me. I sat back in
the chair, smiling in return. Straight away, I felt a little sorry for
my competitor since he'd done his best. He had been practising too,
he'd told me. To make him feel better, I shook his hand and patted him
on the shoulder. The fellow seemed to appreciate that.
For all my acquired temporary resistance to
kiwifruit, I was to be extremely pleased with the media barrage which
followed. This new world record received a long list of news coverage
in more countries than I could possibly keep track of. Every day I was
coming across TV clips, newspaper articles, internet stories and
reviews by famous names. One of the media giants which picked up this
news was Time.com in partnership with CNN. I was speechless.
Today I still buy kiwifruit regularly. They make
a fantastic snack, and are wonderfully tasty. But to enjoy this fruit
most one ought not gulp them down by throwing them – whole – against
the back of your throat, only to have them disappear into your belly at
world record speed.