As we mentioned yesterday, today sees a group of plucky Londoners set out to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest Hug, the first of many record attempts initiated by World Record London. The time to beat? 24 hours, 34 minutes. We caught up with with the participants earlier this morning, three hours into their adventure – meet them all as we pick our favourites to last the longest…
Meet Mayella Reynolds (left) and Stephanie Beattie (right). The most senior of the huggers, Mayella, a ‘theta healing practitioner’, also founded RandomHuggers.com in 2003. Her hugging experience led her to a judicious selection of hugging partner – her ‘husband’s brother’s wife’s sister’ Stephanie is a similar height, making her ergonomically advantageous for such a lengthy cuddle. (Bear in mind, hugging must take place in the standing position at all times.) I put it to Mayella that her extensive experience will put her in good stead for the contest, but she humbly points out that ‘random huggers only hug for a short while.’ And of course, this is more premeditated than random.
The Veterans -
Odds to win: 2-1. UPDATE: DISQUALIFIED!
Our second set of contenders are husband and wife Xiang and Andrew. Xiang read about the project in the Metro and thought it ‘sounded fun.’ At three hours in, they happily declared themselves ‘more comfortable than expected.’ They revealed that each couple accrues five minutes of non-hugging time every hour – so if they can hug for an unbroken six hours, they’ll be allowed a 30 minute break. Strategic stuff. I gave them a hug by way of encouragement; but probably made them feel awkward instead. You be the judge:
Xianging on in there - Odds: 5-1.
Third up, it’s Lorna & Brian Tullet. Brian’s an engineer in the Army, and his wife Lorna is a singer from the Military Wives Choir, looking to add a Guinness World Record to her recently acquired Christmas #1. She’s also raising money for the Royal British Legion and SSafa. ‘Is there much hugging in the Army?’ I ask Brian. ‘Perhaps not enough,’ he replies. Aww. Never mind hugging a hoodie, cuddle a corporal today.
Armies: they’re for huggies - Odds: 3-2.
Emily Jane Brown and Rose Manley are here repping their employers, London 360 on the Community Channel. ‘We haven’t had to take any holiday or anything,’ they boast. They seem in good spirits – but wait, what’s this?
Eagle-eyed record invigilator Bethany comes over to have a word. It’s very important, she explains, that they maintain correct hugging form at all times, ensuring an unbroken cuddle. It’s easy for contestants to get distracted, especially by charismatic interviewers, and their embrace has suddenly become dangerously loose. Fortunately the hug is judged to be just-about satisfactory, and their attempt continues. They’re tweeting their experience (somehow) at London360.
Business casual - Odds: 4-1.
Sanderson and Mikey are our fifth and final pair of contenders. Wait – it’s Sanderson as in ‘Sanderson Jones, previously-featured stand-up comedian‘! ‘We’re here to promote global jihad,’ they insist. ‘But we’ve done so many interviews we may have started making stuff up.’ They find each other hugely entertaining, which is just as well as they must spend the next 24 hours pressed up against each other. Mikey, a fireman, also explains that when he told his family about his forthcoming record attempt, his brother revealed that he ‘once spent eight hours standing completely still – it was during that ‘weird spell’ at uni.’ Endurance, then, seems to run in the family. S&M are probably the huggers most likely to have a good time, but also the most likely to say ‘sod it’ with 30 seconds left on the clock, and then fall about laughing.
Jokers in the pack - Odds: 10-1.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to get into the Guinness Book of Records, keep an eye on London & Partners’ hub for all their forthcoming plans at World Record London. Guy Parsons
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