Back in August there was this post on How to Break a World Record. It was a forward looking piece because I had never actually done it. The good news is that all of the steps in there were correct. Unfortunately, step 4 kinda glossed over the paperwork part and the rest of the steps focused on the actual event. In part 2, we cover the paperwork involved and the other details that might foil an otherwise successful world record performance.
How to get a World Record
1. Break the record. If you haven’t followed the steps from Part 1 and broken the record, the rest of this is irrelevant. Note right before making your world record attempt, be sure to contact Guinness to ensure no one has beat you to the punch. Had I broken the world record for marathon joggling in 2005, I would’ve been sorely disappointed because Michal had set a much lower record than I knew just 3 weeks before the event.
2. Get witnesses to sign your log book and write witness statements. Instead of having a log book with a witness signing each mile they saw me, I had bike riding witnesses follow me the entire 50-mile distance. After that, my witnesses had to write a short note saying what they saw and verifying the record. According to Guinness it is preferred that these be people of some standing in the community. I’m hoping that an architect, business analyst and vice president count. Also, your witnesses should write their note on company letterhead and sign it themselves.
3. Get photos and video. When submitting your record you need to have proof. To help boost the witness statements, you also need pictures and ideally video. The amount of video you need doesn’t have to be much or even any at all but pictures are absolutely required. Make sure you have someone taking photos of you. When you send these pictures in you have to have the photographer sign a waiver (it’s in the pack Guinness gives you) allowing them to republish the shots if they want. You have to have this or the picture proof will be rejected!
4. Generate some press. Soon I’ll publish a list of 25 ways to generate press but here are the basic things to do. Write a press release. If you don’t know how, just do a google search and find out. It’s not hard if your a writing type. If not, ask one of your talented writing friends.
Next, send that press release out to all your friends and family. Ask them to forward it to anyone they know who might be in the media. Submit it to relevant blogs in the area which you broke the record. Also, email it to your local newspapers (they all have websites). Just get that press release out there. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some reporter’s interest. After the story is done, make sure you get a copy for your Guinness record submission. You should have at least 2 or 3 print stories. A radio or TV interview would be great.
5. Send in your submission. You can submit a CD with digital picture files, audio files, and video files. You won’t get these back so don’t send your only copy. In fact, make a copy of the entire packet just in case the thing gets lost in the mail. Write the record claim ID number on the outside of the envelope. You did get your claim number right? If not, they won’t accept the record. Check back in Part 1 on how to do that.
6. Wait. When Guinness gets your packet, they will send you an email saying so. They will also say,
“Due to the vast quantity of claims we receive, it is necessary to assess them on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.”
Of course, if you don’t want to wait, they will accept a fee of £300 ($600 US) and get it done in 2 days. I think I’ll just wait.
That’s it! Once they approve your record they’ll send you a nifty little certificate like the one Michal got here and put you in the book if they have room. Unfortunately, not every record gets printed in the record book. That certificate might be the only proof you ever have that you hold a world record.
But really, does all this matter? It’s great to have an “official” record but even if you don’t get it, you know what you did. Ultimately, that’s all that really matters.