Senior J.D. Blitch Breaks Guinness World Record

     On Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, senior J.D. Blitch began his journey in an attempt to set a world-record of his own: the fastest mile ran while bouncing a ping-pong ball. The first step in setting a Guinness World Record begins with choosing which world record to attempt.

     “I thought it would be really cool to have a world-record,” said Blitch. “I figured I would be able to do it because I am good at both running and ping-pong.”

     Senior Jonah Medoff, an official timer, was also confident in Blitch’s ability to beat the previous record. He knew that Blitch was well practiced and skilled in both running and ping-pong. Blitch has been a Varsity cross country runner for four years, so he had confidence going into it that he could beat the previous record of 11 minutes and 47 seconds, which was slow in his opinion.

     After Blitch’s application was accepted, his journey to being a Guinness World Record holder began. It all started with practice, and, surprisingly, not a lot of it. Blitch practiced only once the Sunday before his attempt by running a few laps around the track while bouncing a ping-pong ball to get a feel for it.

     “Other than that, I didn’t really prepare,” said Blitch.

     On Sunday afternoon, around 15 members of the boys cross country team, including four official witnesses (plus others tuned into the Instagram livestream), came out to the Westminster track to cheer on J.D as he attempted to beat the previous world record. Before he could begin, however, there were lots of rules and regulations to go over.

     “I didn’t realize how official it was until I got there,” said Medoff. “Once we started the video, JD had to read off all the documents that stated that his equipment was approved by all the tennis table organizations.”

      The three timers, Medoff, Zachary Roe, and Scott Arbery, also played a crucial part in the record. They held an official countdown, started their timers, and then Blitch was off. With the encouragement of the spectators behind him, Blitch was on pace to beat the previous record by more than five minutes. After countless left turns around the track, he could almost see the finish line. Almost, but not quite.

     “We were all so excited to watch him beat the record,” said sophomore Justice Jacquot, “But then, with 150 meters to go, he dropped the ping-pong ball.”

     As disappointing as it was to drop the ball so close to the finish line, Blitch was unfazed. He got right back up after catching his breath and then began his second attempt at the Guinness World Record. As exhausted as Blitch may have been, he persevered and successfully crossed the finish line in a time of 6:59:68, obliterating the previous record by four minutes and 48 seconds.

     “It was a great feeling to know that I was done and had set the world record, but I was also extremely hot and tired given that it was my second attempt,” said Blitch.

     Blitch was not alone in this feeling; the official timers, witnesses, and Instagram Live viewers were all also relieved for him that it was over. Given the August heat, all were thankful that it took no more than two attempts.

     As such, an ordinary Sunday afternoon resulted in something special: one Guinness World Record and over 15 happy guys. Many spectators went out to watch simply as something to do on a Sunday afternoon, but they left having viewed something special.

     “I went out to watch JD run because I had nothing better to do that day, but it turned out to be an awesome experience to witness,” said Jacquot. 

    Although the dust from Blitch’s world record has barely settled, given Westminster’s diverse and talented student body, it isn’t hard to imagine another student setting a Guinness World Record. The only question that remains is who.