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Idaho man says he completed his goal of breaking 52 world records in a single year

David Rush set out to break 52 Guinness World Records in 2021. So far, the organization has verified 43 of them.
Jennifer Rush
David Rush set out to break 52 Guinness World Records in 2021. So far, the organization has verified 43 of them.

David Rush of Idaho set out to break one Guinness World Record every week of 2021.

The challenge was simultaneously no small feat and nothing out of the ordinary for Rush, an author, speaker and entertainer who describes himself on his website as "one of the most prolific Guinness World Records title holders on the planet."

"He is the world's fastest juggler, the world's slowest juggler, and has the record for most bowling balls juggled, most consecutive ax juggling catches, and longest duration balancing a bicycle on the chin," according to his bio, which says he's broken more than 150 records since 2015.

Rush has been promoting STEM for more than a decade through talks with students, educators and corporations. He told NPR over email that his record-a-week mission aims to inspire students who struggle with those disciplines by showing difficult things are possible.

"STEM is hard and when a student struggles with science or fails at math they may say they can never be an engineer," he wrote. "In 2015 I broke my first GWR to create a tangible example for folks to show that if you set your mind to a goal, believe in yourself, and pursue it with a passion, you can accomplish nearly anything. Going on to break an average of 1 a week is an extension of that to inspire kids to pursue hard STEM subjects and anyone to pursue anything that's hard."

Rush started the year off on Jan. 4 by stacking wet bars of soap with his neighbor, he explained in a blog post last week. From there, his missions included bouncing ping pong balls, catching fruit and marshmallows in his mouth, juggling and doing various tasks very quickly.

"I crossed the 200 Guinness World Records broken milestone with one of the 5 hardest for the most kiwis sliced in one minute using a samurai sword while standing on a swiss ball," he wrote. "I revisited my very first record – longest duration blindfolded juggling, this time extended the record from 22 minutes 7 seconds to 32 minutes 7 seconds."

Some of his tasks involved partners. Rush said he broke a couple of records with his wife, and put a bow on the year by wrapping his neighbor in wrapping paper with the help of an accomplice, becoming the fastest pair to do so.

Rush also posted a video compilation of some of those moments:

A spokesperson for Guinness World Records confirmed over email that Rush achieved a total of 43 Guinness World Records titles over the 52 weeks of 2021.

Rush explained that the rest of the attempts have been submitted to Guinness for review. The official verification process involves creating an application for a new record, having Guinness approve it, actually making the attempt and then submitting the evidence to the organization for review, which he said can take up to three months.

He said he currently has 10 or 11 that are pending review, and likes to have "a couple of extra in case any are not approved for any reason."

In the meantime, here are the world records he can officially add to his resume:

  • Fastest time to wrap a person with wrapping paper (team of two)
  • Fastest 100 m joggling with three objects whilst blindfolded (male)
  • Fastest 100 m blindfolded
  • Most consecutive axe juggling catches
  • Most passes of a beach ball in one minute (team of two)
  • Most marshmallows caught by mouth in one minute
  • Most apples thrown and caught in mouth in one minute
  • Fastest 10 m balancing a balloon on the face
  • Farthest distance traveled on an electric unicycle while juggling three objects
  • Most juggling catches while on a balance board (blindfolded)
  • Most passes of a giant inflatable ball in three minutes (team)
  • Fastest time to wrap a person in cling film/plastic wrap
  • Most thumbtacks inserted into a cork board in one minute
  • Fastest time to complete a 10m shuttle run pushing a pram
  • Most toilet paper rolls balanced on the head
  • Fastest time to burst 10 balloons (team of six)
  • Most table tennis balls caught in shaving foam on the head in 30 seconds (team of two)
  • Farthest distance walked balancing a baseball bat on the chin
  • Most behind-the-back flying disc (frisbee) catches in one minute
  • Fastest flying disc relay (20 m course)
  • Most passes of a giant inflatable ball in three minutes
  • Longest duration balancing a chair on the chin
  • Most consecutive passes of a giant inflatable ball
  • Most kiwis sliced on a balance board in one minute
  • Most grapes thrown and caught in the mouth while juggling in one minute (team of two)
  • Most consecutive catches of a spinning basketball
  • Fastest time to flip three water bottles
  • Most kiwifruits sliced in the air with a sword whilst standing on a Swiss ball in one minute
  • Longest duration balancing an object on the head
  • Most juggling catches while on a balance board (blindfolded)
  • Fastest time to arrange a chess set
  • Fastest time to arrange a chess set (team of two)
  • Longest duration juggling three objects whilst on a balance board
  • Most glasses balanced on a stick held in the mouth
  • Most T-shirts put on in 30 seconds (team of two)
  • Most T-shirts put on in one minute (team of two)
  • Longest duration juggling three objects whilst on a Swiss ball
  • Most grapes sliced in the air with a sword whilst standing on a Swiss ball in one minute
  • Most juggling catches on a Swiss ball in one minute (three balls)
  • Fastest time to bounce a ping pong ball into five cups (team of two)
  • Most football (soccer) arm rolls in 30 seconds
  • Most bars of soap stacked in one minute (team of two)
  • Most drum stick flips in 30 seconds

  • A version of this story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.