Off the shelf #1 – Ahrita Furman World Record Breaker

Ashrita Furman, World Record Breaker Pro

If there’s one man determined to make it into the history books – even if it means balancing the entice Encyclopedia Britanica on his head – it’s Ashrita Furman. The 56 year old health food store manager from New York has set 562 Guinness World Records since 1979, and has managed to hold onto over 200 of them up until now. He even holds the world record for having the most world records!!!

So why has this man caught Puffin’s attention? Well readers, while most of us are content to curl up in a comfy spot, at least three out of Ashrita’s 562 world records involve the man balancing books on his head.

On 25th October 2009, while we were all in school or at work, Ashrita was running up 122 stairs in the New York City Subway with books weighing 3.5 kilos on the top of his head. (That’s 10 or 11 books!) Oh, and did we mention that he did all this in sixty seconds? SIXTY SECONDS. We probably wouldn’t advise sprinting up three flights of stairs with a couple of books on your head, especially in the middle of a busy New York subway station, but it’s still pretty cool.

A few months earlier, on 29th July 2009, you might have seen Ashrita at the Jamaica High School track in Queens, New York, running a mile with a book on his head. He won the record for fastest mile completed with book on head in an unbelievable 8 minutes and 27 seconds.

More recently, in 2011, you would have found Ashrita taking a 20 mile stroll with (you’ve guessed it!) a book on his head. When he isn’t walking around with books on his head, this guy can be found mountain climbing on stilts, cycling underwater, and balancing a lawnmower on his chin. If one thing can be said for this man, it’s that Ashrita’s he’s got a head for books.

Alex Slingsby, Puffin Work Experience 

Catch up on everything else Alex is writing, thinking and pontificating about (while pretending to speak French) on her blog

We’re always on the lookout for young writers! If you’ve got an idea for an OFF THE SHELF article or would like to write for the Puffin Blog please email with PUFFIN BLOG in the subject line.

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