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Celebrate 60 years of Guinness World Records with 10 of UPI's favorites

By Ben Hooper
Celebrate 60 years of Guinness World Records with 10 of UPI's favorites
Martyn Tovey with his Guinness Book of World Records collection. Photo courtesy Guinness World Records

LONDON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Guinness World Records, the world's foremost authority on record-breaking accomplishments, is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding Thursday. To celebrate six decades of the weird and wonderful, UPI is looking back at 10 of our favorite Guinness-worthy records of the past year.

1. Hey, McFly!

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Canadian inventor Catalin Alexandru Duru took his homemade hoverboard, which uses a drone-like series of propellers to hover 16.4 feet in the air, for a ride covering 904 feet and 2 inches over Quebec's Lake Ouarea to initiate a Guinness World Record category for farthest journey by hoverboard.

Duru's board, which more closely resembles the Green Goblin's glider from Spider-Man than Marty McFly's famous hoverboard from Back to the Future Part II, only had to travel a distance of 164 feet to be eligible for the Guinness record.

Duru said his journey was restricted only by the charge on his battery.

"I wanted to showcase that a stable flight can be achieved on a hoverboard and a human could stand and control with their feet," he said after the attempt.

The achievement was hailed by a Guinness representative.

"This is a truly mesmerizing and incredible feat in the world of engineering and transportation," the representative said. "It's always pleasing to see individuals such as Catalin Alexandru Duru achieve a Guinness World Records title such as this in which personal endeavor continues to amaze us all."

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2. Victory is delicious

The Girl Scouts of America's Arizona Cactus-Pine Council was given a goal of selling $75,000 worth of Girl Scout cookies in a 24-hour period to qualify for a Guinness World Record, and 600 troops banded together during the Super Bowl to sell a total $355,000 worth of cookies.

Susan de-Queljoe, a senior associate at the council, said she expected the tasty record to stand the test of time, but she hopes other Girl Scouts will try.

"I think we'll be hard to beat in the future," she said.

GO GIRL SCOUTS! While we wait for the official confirmation to come in from our friends at Guinness World Record – we...

Posted by Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Inc. on Sunday, February 1, 2015

3. Legion(s) of superheroes

The past year has seen two separate -- but equally awesome -- Guinness World Records set for gatherings of superheroes.

The first came in September 2014, when Canadian firm Nexen Energy kicked off its annual United Way campaign by dressing 542 employees as the Dark Knight himself to set the Guinness World Record for most people dressed as Batman in one place.

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A similar record spun its way into headlines the same month, when British costume company Escapade Fancy Dress put 398 people in Spider-Man suits at the University of London.

Escapade said the event raised money for veterans charity Help for Heroes.

4. One tall cut of beef

The town of Orangeville, Ill., lost one of its most beloved residents this year when Blosom, a cow measuring 74.8 inches tall, died on the farm she called home. However, the late bovine's owner soon learned Blosom's memory would live on in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest cow ever.

"The funny thing about Blosom was how unaffected she was by all the attention that seemed to surround her," owner Patty Meads-Hanson told Guinness. "As long as she had her oats, and daily chin rubs and ear scratches, life was good."

Meads-Hanson said Blosom was unable to have calves of her own, but she had plenty of love in her life as the "official greeter" on her farm.

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5. Lighting the night

New York state resident Tim Gay and his family retook the Guinness World Record for most lights on a residential property in December of last year with a holiday display featuring more than 600,000 bulbs.

Tim Gay, whose previous Guinness record was beaten in 2013 by Australian David Richards with a display featuring 502,165 lights, said he had no plans to attempt the 2014 record until the makers of Ritz Crackers donated an installation featuring about 200,000 lights, bringing the total at his LaGrangeville home to 601,736 lights.

"My family and I are thrilled to bring the Guinness World Record back to the United States and we're even more excited that we did it with nearly 100,000 more lights than the previous record," Gay said.

6. Spud-sational cooking

The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh captured a Guinness record of its own late last year when its chefs cooked up the world's largest pierogi, which weighed in at 123 pounds.

Richard Marmion, executive chef of the Rivers Casino, said the massive Polish dumpling started with 60 pounds of mashed potatoes and 42 pounds of dough before other ingredients were added and combined into a 123-pound pierogi.

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"It was quite a challenge," Marmion said. "The planning and the pre-planning and the testing were probably the biggest part. Assembling it and really getting it together today was really kind of easy. We ran through that a couple of times, so we were pretty confident."

7. Hoop dreams become hoop reality

An Australian trick shot team broke its own Guinness World Record by throwing a basketball from the top of a dam to a hoop 415 feet below.

The How Ridiculous team, who set the world record for highest basketball shot in 2011 by dropping a ball from 220 feet up and added 80 feet to the record two days later, took their ball and hoop to the Gordon Dam in Tasmania for their latest attempt.

The result, which was featured on a Sunday night TV special, was certified as a new world record by Guinness.

8. The purr-fect level of volume

Torquay, England resident Tracy Westwood's cacophonous cat, Merlin, became a minor Internet star in 2013 when she posted a YouTube video of his thunderous purring, and Guinness World Records confirmed this year the cat's purr was measured at 67.8 decibels, beating the 2011 record of 67.68 decibels set by a cat named Smokey.

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Guinness, which measured Merlin's purr as part of filming for an episode of British TV special Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud 2, said the purr is comparable to the sound from an air conditioner and nearly as loud as a dishwasher.

"Occasionally when he's really loud I have to repeat myself. When you're watching films you have to turn the telly up or put him out of the room, if he's eating he'll purr loudly. I can hear him when I'm drying my hair," Westwood said.

9. Gimel a record for Hanukkah

Nearly 800 people gathered in Israel to break the Guinness World Record for most dreidels spinning simultaneously.

The group, which included Member of Knesset Tzipi Livni, the country's former justice minister, attempted to spin about 1,000 of the traditional Hanukkah tops at Tel Aviv's Sarona shopping center and a total 754 dreidels kept spinning for the required 10 seconds.

Guinness World Records officials were on hand to verify the spinning dreidels outnumbered the 734 set in motion by a United Synagogue Youth group in Philadelphia in 2011.

10. Guinness-ception

What's the best thing that could happen to a collector of Guinness Books of World Records? Making it into the Guinness Book of World Records!

Martyn Tovey, 57, of Somerset, England, said his Guinness collection started in 1968 when he won a Book of World Records as a prize at school and he has been receiving annual editions of the book from his mother every Christmas since 1971.

Tovey said he managed to track down earlier editions and has also added numerous special editions including rare first editions signed by co-founders Norris and Ross McWhirter.

The 353 editions earned Tovey the record for Largest Collection of Guinness World Records Annuals, and his 2,164-strong collection of Guinness promotional items earned him a second record for Largest Collection of Guinness World Records Memorabilia.

Tovey said his collection includes board games, spoons and engraved glasses.

"It has taken many years -- and a great deal of effort -- to put my collection together, and to be recognized by Guinness World Records in this way is absolutely fantastic," Tovey said.

Guinness officials said Tovey's expertise has proven valuable as the record-keeping organization prepares for its 60th anniversary.

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"We've been monitoring record-breaking collections for years, and we cover everything from airline boarding passes to zebras. But it wasn't until this year, when we met Martyn, that we realized we should open a category for the largest collection of Guinness World Records books," said Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of the Guinness book. "Such is Martin's dedication to documenting our history that his incredible collection outstrips even the archive here at Guinness World Records!"

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