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 gloves worn on one hand:
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Most gloves worn on one hand.
You can wear one pair of gloves? That's wonderful. But I can do better.
In fact, I was willing enough to pull on so many pairs, I cut off the
blood flow to my hand, screamed in pain, and writhed on the verge of a
public road in agony. All this for a world record certificate!
A world record adjudicator was with me the day I
made this attempt. We were on the front lawn of a local church-linked
community organisation. A busy road passed just three or four metres
from where I threw down my shopping bag of gloves and then sat. A group
of youths had gathered to watch my antics. Not worried about what
anyone thought, I laid out the gloves on the grass, made myself
comfortable and waited for the adjudicator's instructions as I watched
him prepare his click-counter.
I glanced at the TV camera focused on my face. I
was used to them, so it didn't bother me. I'd practised, and the
technique required for success was hardly rocket science. There was no
time limit stated in the rules, so the only thing restricting my speed
would be the pain caused by severe constriction. I was ready. So was
the TV crew, going by their comments.
The first glove slid onto my hand without any
trouble. So did the next eight or so. Then, as I quickly stretched one
on, my grip slipped and it got stuck. I fiddled for a minute to regain
my grip on the outer lip and pulled it again. The glove tore. I ripped
it off and tried the next. This continued at least a dozen more times,
by which time my hand was extremely tightly packed in many layers.
Every move I made with my fingers sent aches through my palm and up my
wrist. Relaxing my hand was equally painful so I wasn't sure what to
do. My pace at pulling on the gloves slowed, possibly since the pain
was becoming almost unbearable. I began to rock, to try and disperse
the intensity of the stinging. It seemed to help a little – even if
this was only in my thoughts, so I rocked ever more vigorously. All
this time, I was holding out my limp, numb hand which now resembled an
arm stump in wrappings. I was having to concentrate carefully to fit on
each glove in that state: pain consistently shooting through my hand,
my uncontrollable rocking getting worse, the odd yell interrupting
everyone's chatting, a crowd of youngsters staring at me puzzlingly, a
sickening feeling fast developing in my stomach, and a TV cameraman and
his apparatus close-up in my face.
The adjudicator gave
me the option to stop, but
there was no way. I was going to show people! Cars slowed to stare at
the man they could see behaving so strangely, and some even turned back
for a second drive by. I was getting dizzy but I knew if I stopped, the
world record as it may then have been set could easily be beaten. I
kept pulling on glove after glove, yelling, and throwing myself around
The pressure in my eyes was building quickly and
it seemed my face was about to burst open, sprinkling everyone around
me in red. But I pressed on. Again, I was invited to stop although I
ignored the call. I managed to force on two dozen gloves, and then
became convinced I was about to go unconscious. Just as waves of
faintness started to overwhelm me, I began losing strength in my free
hand, and dropped a glove. I couldn't any longer. I had to stop. The
moment I called out for help and signalled my decision to stop, the
adjudicator kindly reached forward to the bulb of a hand I was
uncontrollably waving, grabbed hold of it and wriggled his fingertips
under the outermost few gloves. He pulled hard, and the gloves
followed. But they doubled over and got stuck on themselves. He pulled
and I drew away. The gloves ripped free. Through my blurring
consciousness, I had the sense to cooperate and we did the same again.
And again. But I felt no different. Was this man playing the fool or
was he really removing this source of incredible pain? I felt him jerk
another handful of gloves off me and the crushing pressure on my bones
lightened slightly. My mind was spinning; my head was bobbing on my
shoulders. I felt more gloves being pulled away and a little less
pressure bearing down on the muscle and joints. My eyes seemed to
Finally, the adjudicator pulled the last glove
off and my hand instantly felt cold in the breeze. It had been swimming
in a bath of sweat. Perhaps it was my incoherence that sensed my hand
bloating to nearly twice its size. I couldn't move my fingers. A
fleeting thought of permanent damage and paralysis crossed my mind. But
as I regained strength little by little, I was able to manoeuvre my
fingertips just a tiny bit. I wriggled them as fast and as hard as I
could, but not much more happened at first. It took more than five
minutes for me to gain control of my hand. It was then that the
adjudicator congratulated me on yet another world record, about which I
was definitely pleased. After that, I walked around shaking my injured
hand non-stop like a pompom. I wasn't sure if this had been such a good
idea after all.
Now think about this when you next wear your
favourite pair of gloves!