Circuit Trails Coalition and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy hold record-breaking attempt.
By Lindsey Nolen
To celebrate Opening Day for Trails, the Circuit Trails Coalition and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy joined local outdoor enthusiasts on a segment of the Circuit Trails at Penn Treaty Park on Saturday, April 8.
In addition to promoting the Circuit’s season-long challenge, the organizations also attempted to set a Guinness World Record for the longest fist bump relay.
While the season-long challenge requires logging 500 miles on the Circuit Trails between Saturday, April 8 and Monday, Sept. 4, the day’s immediate challenge was to surpass the record recently set in Florida that recorded 556 people participating in the longest fist bump relay.
Anya Saretzky, project manager of trail development for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, explained that as the idea for a record-breaking community engagement opportunity progressed, her organization reached out to Guinness World Records for advice on selecting a suitable record to attempt to break.
“Guinness World Records sent us a big list of possible records we could attempt to break, and one of the other possibilities included conducting the longest arm wave,” she said. “We decided on the longest fist bump relay because it was something we could easily do at the park and we thought it was exciting.”
“We thought this would be a good way to start off a ‘season of challenge’ by challenging and engaging the public,” added Olivia Glenn, New Jersey co-chair of the Circuit Coalition. “We want to encourage others to continue challenging themselves to meet the goal of 500 Circuit miles by September.”
Mike Janela, an official Guinness World Records adjudicator who traveled to the park that morning from New York City, judged the day’s challenge.
Before kicking off the record-breaking attempt, he gave participants a little background on his company’s 62-year-old publication and its efforts in recognizing “the officially amazing.”
“We receive over 50,000 record applications each year from all around the world, only 2 percent of which are successfully broken,” he said. “People always want to do something that makes them the best in the world. I love seeing people come together to try to do just that.”
Before the start of the relay, Janela went over the official guidelines with all participants. Once the starting signal was given, he instructed that each person was to fist bump the person next to them in a continuous and sequential order.
No one was allowed to leave the line until the relay was complete, or the record was to be nullified.
Although a long line of people, many of whom sported shirts that read “Proud to trail,” stood side-by-side chanting “bump” during the extremely windy afternoon, by the record-breaking attempt’s conclusion, the total number was 116 fist bumps.
Despite falling short of the world record title, attendees were happy to come out to commemorate the opening day of trails.
“I’m a daily commuter and a weekend rider,” said Ray Scheinfeld, an attendee of the event. “I spend a lot of time on the trails. Today, like every day, is a great day to get outside and go on a ride.”
As attendees enjoyed the remainder of the event, which was filled with music, food, “Circuit Trails swag” and a variety of giveaways, news regarding the addition of more than 10 Circuit Trails in the region was announced.
These new trails will include several segments of the Schuylkill River Trail, the Cooper’s Poynt Trail in Camden and an extensive addition to the Delaware River Heritage Trail in Burlington County, N.J.
Circuit Trails’ ultimate goal is to build 500 miles of trails by 2025.
“We’re encouraging our municipalities and counties to sign and pass resolutions that will pledge toward that goal, while also challenging trail lovers to walk, bike, whatever they want to do throughout the summer of 2017,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, chairperson of the Circuit Trails Coalition. “We’re encouraging as many people as possible to take the pledge and walk the 500 miles throughout the circuit.”
For more information on the Circuit Trails, visit their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Interested participants can also find tips and ideas for logging the 500 mile challenge this season on social media sites.