Could you run an 8:35 mile? Not an outrageous feat for most runners. (That’s around 5:20 per kilometre.) Could you do it while juggling? That might take some practice. Maybe a lot of practice. How about this: run an 8:35 mile while juggling, with your eyes closed.
That’s what David Rush of Boise, Idaho did recently. In fact, he ran 7:54. Rush’s hobby is breaking Guinness World Records. His first targeted record, about six years ago, was Fastest 800m While Juggling. He ran around 2,000 miles in training over a two-year period, but ended up injuring his knee, and it was a year and a half before he could run hard again. Though he pivoted to non-running records (his first was longest duration juggling blindfolded, in October 2015), since then he has set 17 running-related records. The blindfolded juggling mile is only the most recent–but also, he says, the most difficult.
No one had ever attempted this record before, so the Guinness organization arbitrarily set the mark at 8:35. (Rush’s result has not yet been ratified.)
Rush’s other videos involve the records he has set doing some odd and astonishing things, like balancing a step-ladder on his chin (or a bicycle, or a chainsaw), juggling bowling balls, basketballs and axes, and numerous running records–including fastest 50m balancing a ping pong ball on a mallet, fastest 100m carrying an open bottle of water on a waiter’s tray, and our favourites: fastest 100m and fastest mile while balancing an egg on a spoon held in his mouth.
— David Rush (@DavidWRush) October 28, 2019
Rush, who works for the Boise tech company Cradlepoint, was inspired to start attempting to break Guinness records to promote STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math), and this is still his driving motivation. “We need more boys and girls to grow up with a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math,” Rush says on his website, www.davidrush4stem.com. He goes on, speaking about himself: “I espouse the power of a growth mindset, which can allow any person to get better at any skill. It’s so powerful that a kid who wasn’t smart enough to get into the gifted program could get an electrical engineering degree from MIT. And a person who got picked last for sports because he couldn’t catch the ball could go on to become the world’s fastest juggler and break over 75 Guinness World Records.”
Rush doesn’t actually hold the Guinness World Record for holding the most Guinness World Records–that honour belongs to Ashrita Furman of Brooklyn, NY, whose Wikipedia page says he currently holds 226 records, and that he has set more than 600 records total. Furman runs a health food store and has been breaking Guinness records for 35 years. Furman was the original holder of the Fastest Half-marathon Skipping Without a Rope. Rush set a new record at 2:13:41 earlier this year, something that Toronto’s Michal Kapral, who set the latest record at Scotiabank Waterfront last month, only found out about a few days before his race. Kapral successfully lowered the record to 2:12:46, accompanied by a lot of blisters.