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 High Fives in one minute: 76
This is the story behind my Guinness World Record™ for the Most High Fives in one minute.
For days, I paced up and down. To the world
around me, it seemed I was intensely worried about something they
couldn't see. In fact, I wasn't worried; I am extremely excited. World
record fever was overtaking me and I was unable to get enough of it.
Just weeks away, I was to appear at a public event and try my skills at
several world records. One attempt, if I could have my way, was to
involve everyone. But what would it be? As I often do, I dismissed much
of my routine so I could concentrate on devising the best possible
My dishes piled up on the kitchen sink, I hadn't
swept out the house for a while, and visitors must have thought I'd
never known how to dust the furnishings. Of course I was well aware
that all these things needed attention, but they were nowhere near as
important as a possible world record. So I prioritised. My home fell
into temporary neglect while I wandered around the community, searching
for an appropriate world record challenge. Everything I saw became the
subject of a quick mental analysis – what could I use something like
that for? My expressionless face, strained that way with concentration,
made me appear antisocial. My careless drifting through the streets,
too, earned me numerous worried looks. Until the idea came to me, I was
a lost soul without a focus. It was pitiful, but not for long.
Like a wave of pressurised air smacking me square
in the chest, I was snapped out of my absent-mindedness as I stared
intently at a group of school youth. I've got it! Yes, I'll do what
those children are. While cajoling on the pavement, I watched one
youngster hit another's palm with his. The dull clap rang out across
the street, and perhaps that's what set my mind in thought. I'd try to
break the world record for High-Fiving, I told myself. In a second, I
imagined a winding line of individuals all hitting their hand into mine
sequentially, to produce a repetitive clap that would go on for a very
And that's what I set out to arrange. Seemingly
immediately, my posture improved and my outlook on life became more
positive. Now that I had the idea I'd been searching for, one of the
first things I did was clean my home. That was a good move, because I
could then think clearly in the tidied space. And did I think! I
thought about hands, slapping, queuing, counting, and then I began to
envision a sea of outstretched hands as far as the horizon, all moving
toward me at great speed, wanting to be slapped onto my palm.
Stop – it was too much to take in! I relaxed.
Feeling better, I penned a list so I'd have something rational to
follow. My writing covered half a page. All that note-taking just to
High Five a few people, I mused. Yes, record-breaking is not always
and it often takes a great deal of unseen planning to succeed. This
event was to be no different.
A large stadium's grounds had been arranged by
the event organisers. I was told that a big crowd was due, and that
made me hyper with excitement. The more, the better - and the more
impressive my world record attempt would be, for sure. I had witnesses
ready, and I'd made the official rules clear to all taking part. A
temporary shelter was to be erected, and I'd have a microphone to speak
The event day had arrived. I didn't have time to
feel cold in the early morning chill; there was too much activity.
People were pouring onto the sports field, but I didn't see any large
crowds entering. There had been a cancellation. Oh dear! I thought my
plans were being dissolved, but thankfully, a sizeable crowd was
eventually gathered alongside the stage. Once all those present had
time to see the rules, I introduced myself and we were ready.
line of people stretched back across
the field, listening for every instruction. I could see mothers holding
toddlers, the elderly, couples, youth and people from a great diversity
of backgrounds. All of them were waiting for me. Well! I had to
perform. The countdown began and soon, the first large, stiffened palm
smacked into mine as the person dashed past. Bang! My forearm swung
hurting the tendons around my elbow. I grinned; what else could I do?
The next hand smacked my palm before I had time to raise it into the
vertical position once more. And the next. And the next hand. I was
aware of my forearm being knocked over repeatedly, and thought it must
look like a self-erecting rubber pillar which refused to be levelled.
Hand after hand hit mine, a mixture of my and others' sweat began to
drip, and my arm muscles started to ache with every contact. Over all
this, I was expected to count, but the helpers were a great backup for
The timekeeper began counting out loud, and soon
he was striking off the last 20 seconds from the remaining minute. Oh
no! Help, I thought, as the line of hands ran out. Gone. Nobody to come
next. I was left standing with time to spare, looking completely lost.
Not sure of where to direct my eyes, I bobbed my head this way and
that, unsure of what I could do. Within moments, the time was up and
people were amused that we'd outwitted the stopwatch.
Right. I needed a plan. Quick discussions with
the management meant we'd try the event again. This time, though, we
first spent time dashing around pleading with everyone in sight to join
in. And, much to our amusement, the local coffee cart operator, a few
passing shoppers, the groundsman and numerous others were willing. We
started all over again, and I was determined to keep my arm upright as
much as I could.
The first hand contacted mine, then the second
and so it went. Mothers rushed their children into position; the aged
passed me as fast as they could move; friends squealed as they
passed... I was actually enjoying myself, even though my forearm was
taking a hard knock several times a second. What a blur. And it was all
over in precisely one minute. The only thing we could do was look at
each other and begin giggling. That's what happened. Some found the
whirlwind event entertaining, while others, like me, just stood where
they were. The stupidity of the sudden stoppage lasted several seconds
before someone announced that the day was to continue.
I jumped into action, realising that time was
running out to complete the necessary admin. With one shaking arm and
the other calm, I scribbled down the details I needed to keep track of.
With a lot of generous help, we'd done it – as far as we thought. The
final decision would need to come from the world record judges, but
everyone present felt the event had gone smoothly and well. I certainly
did, and I was looking really forward to having this world record
Over the next few weeks, news of what we'd done spread across the internet. It appeared on, and was duplicated across, many websites about community activities. For me to be a part of that element in society was a pleasure, and I hoped that others would feel inspired to get out there and do active things in their own communities too!
If you are single and need to find some more
friends to High Five with, consider joining up with a website such as Dating
Direct. Then see how High Fives can lead to