August 14, 2011: Who is Ashrita Furman? He was born on Thursday, September 16, 1954 in Brooklyn, New York. His name used to be Keith Furman. Name ring a bell?
Ashrita is Sanskrit, meaning "protected by God". Ashrita Furman was born the same year the Guinness Book of Records was conceived and the year Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile. Starting to sound familiar yet?
That's right. Ashrita Furman is the record holder for holding the most records (and we're not talking 45's). Ashrita has set more than 300 Guinness records since 1979 and currently holds 131 Guinness records. He has set records on all seven continents and in more than 30 different countries. He has the official record for "The most current Guinness World Records held at the same time by an individual."
As the story goes: Then, Keith Furman was fascinated with the Guinness Book of World Records as a child but never thought he could ever break a record, since he was very nonathletic. He grew up in the Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood in Queens, and attended Jamaica High School. This all changed when Furman became interested in spirituality. In 1970 he became a devout follower of the mystic Sri Chinmoy. Chinmoy inspired Furman to participate in a 24-hour bicycle race in New York City's Central Park in 1978. With only two weeks' training, Furman tied for third place, cycling 405 miles (652 km). Furman said of the experience, "It was one of the most profound moments of my life. As I climbed off my bicycle, I realized that it wasn't my body that had cycled for 24 hours, but my inner Spirit. By using meditation I was able to connect with an inexhaustible energy which we all have but rarely use. At that moment I decided to attempt breaking Guinness records to inspire others to connect with their own indomitable inner strength." After this, Keith Furman changed his first name to Ashrita. Or so the legend goes.
Furman set his first official record in 1979 by doing 27,000 jumping jacks. In 1986, Furman invented and set the record for underwater pogo stick jumping and introduced it on Good Morning America on April Fools Day. Also that year he began setting records at historic landmarks by doing forward rolls along the entire 12 ¼ mile route of Paul Revere's Ride in Massachusetts and jumping 11 ½ miles up and down the foothills of Mount Fuji on a pogo stick.
So now you know.
Brought to you by: Another break from the poetry
Sources: Guinness Book of Records