In the recent Los Angeles Marathon there were many 'records' set that the Guinness Book of World Records is going to list, such as: (1) the fastest marathon by someone dressed as a car; (2) the fastest marathon by someone dressed as a three-dimensional bird; and, (3) the fastest marathon by someone wearing lederhosen. I'm not joking... these people will be listed in that world record book. Perhaps I should have done the 506-mile, 17-day solo run across the desert wearing a costume! Maybe Guinness would have taken me 'seriously' had I done so.
But the "records" don't stop there for the L.A. Marathon. In addition to the ones I've listed, there were other winning categories, such as the fastest marathons by people dressed as a swimmer, boxer, tennis player, fast-food item (hot dog) and in pajamas. Seriously, people not only get recognition for such things, but are listed in the Guinness record book.
For a feat to be considered for inclusion in the Guinness World Records database, it must be measurable, based on a single variable, verifiable, and breakable. I guess Guinness didn't see my successful Mojave Desert run as meeting its criteria. Also, Guinness World Records will not accept proposals for record attempts that aren’t sufficiently challenging, are too specific to an individual, or could harm or endanger anyone. Hmm... it's true that I could have died alone in the Mojave had something gone wrong, so perhaps that disqualified my accomplishment from consideration for the Guinness book.
Approximately 25-30 new records are approved and officially added to the Guinness World Records database each week, but the organization receives more than 1,000 applications per week. Only a small percentage of applicants go on to become official Guinness World Records title holders. According to the Guinness World Records' website, there are more than 40,000 records in the records database, but only about 4,000 of them are published in the book annually due to space constraints, and only about 11,000 of them are on the website for organizational purposes.
I've never been focused on setting world records. My accomplishments stand for themselves and I'm fine with that. I know what I've done in the world of running and don't need to have my name listed in a book next to the people that ran the fastest marathon dressed as a crustacean, a 3-D dinosaur, or a gingerbread man. And yes, there are Guinness World Records for those too!