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Kneebender sets record

By
MICHAEL MCGETTIGAN

PHILADELPHIA -- Ashrita Furman expected to wake up with tender leg muscles Saturday, and with good reason: He is the new owner of the world record for the most deep knee bends in an hour.

Furman, 35, a marathon runner and health food store manager from New York, took only 54 minutes and 40 seconds Friday to beat the previous Guinness Book of World Records standard of 2,352 knee bends.

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Furman caught his breath, gave thanks to his meditation teacher, Shri Chinmoy, then whipped through another set as spectators urged him to 'go for it.' He finished the hour with a total of 2,500 repetitions.

'Oh man, am I going to feel sore tomorrow,' Furman said.

Furman's effort, in front of the Liberty Bell on Independence Mall, won the record back from the Englishman who captured it this summer.

Furman, who also holds the Guiness record for holding the most Guiness records, picked Philadelphia for his latest feat to help publicize a free concert to be presented next week by his guru.

Furman said he never would have accomplished any of his feats if he hadn't discovered meditation, and said he hoped his example will encourage others to push beyond their limits.

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'I was a classic nerd, not athletic in the slightest, before I started meditating,' said Furman, who carries 160 pounds of muscle on his runner's frame. 'The energy you get from meditation is just amazing.'

Furman's previous records include standards for yodeling (27 hours), distance somersaulted (12 miles), jumping jacks (27,000), pogo sticking (13 miles), and long-distance walking with a milk bottle balanced on his head (32.9 miles), to name a few.

His Guinness record for juggling three balls (6 hours, 7 minutes), was recently broken, but Furman is unconcerned. He plans to get it back next year, perhaps juggling in front of the pyramids in Egypt.

Furman said Friday's effort was relatively easy.

'I really don't feel like I've suffered enough,' he laughed afterward. 'Compared to some of the longer-term things I've done, where I'm really a basket case by the end, this wasn't that bad. In fact, I may run a marathon in New York tomorrow -- maybe.'

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